French: Ombrette africaine German: Hammerkopf Spanish: Avemartillo
J. F. Gmelin
Subspecies and Distribution
S. u. minor
Bates, 1931 – coastal belt of W Africa from Sierra Leone to E Nigeria.
S. u. umbretta
J. F. Gmelin, 1789 – most of tropical Africa, SW Arabia, Madagascar.
50–56 cm; 415–430 g. UnmistakableBird flying. Iridescent purplish gloss on back. Juvenile similar to adult. Race minor smaller and darker.
Rather silent when alone, but vocal when with others. In flight utters repeated short, sharp high-... read more
Wetlands of a wide variety, including estuaries, riverbanks, lakesides, fish ponds, irrigation... read more
Food and feeding
Mostly amphibians, especially frogs and tadpoles of genus Xenopus; in Mali, almost exclusively small fish (e.g. young Tilapia... read more
Year-round in E Africa, elsewhere peaks at different times, mostly during late rains or dry season. Renowned for its extraordinarily... read more
Sedentary, often with local movements; rarely occupies same nest for more than a few months. Some... read more
Status and conservation
Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Frequent to locally abundant in African range; widespread and locally common in Madagascar. Protected by native superstition.... read more
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