Hamerkop Nest Cam

A newly-bonded pair of hamerkops are building a nest behind-the-scenes at the Zoo. Hamerkops build the biggest nests of any bird in Africa!



More About Hamerkop Nests

The nest is a huge dome with one narrow round entrance hole. In the first stage, an untidy mass of vegetation with a central bowl is constructed in 4-7 days. Sides are then built up above bowl with sticks. The birds then commence roofing with strong sticks worked vertically into the edge, slanting inwards, interwoven. They work gradually forward, one often remaining within the cavity, while other works on top; both may work together with one stick. When a strong, stable roof of sticks is complete, masses of other material added on top—reeds, weeds, grass small sticks, food scraps, paper, etc. This mass of material may be added by both working continuously all one day or may take longer. Finally, the entrance chamber is fashioned with short sticks usually brought by one while the other remains within and works them into place. The entrance and nest chamber are then plastered with mud, leaving no sharp projections.