hammerhead

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hammerhead,

common name for a heavy-looking, heronlike bird, Scopus umbretta. Its plumage is brown with light and dark glossy, purplish streaks on the wings and body. It has short legs, partially webbed feet, and a heavy, wide, moderately long, black bill. Its stiff, backward-pointing crest, along with its peculiar bill, give its head a hammer-shaped appearance. Both sexes are similarly arrayed. Long-winged and long-tailed, the hammerhead, or hammerkop (as it is called in Africa), may reach a body length of 20 in. (51 cm). It is an inhabitant of the marshes and mangrove swamps of southern Arabia, Africa, and Madagascar, where it feeds primarily on aquatic animals, such as water insects, small fish, and amphibians. It often perches on the back of hippopotamuses, searching for frogs. Hammerheads reside singly, in pairs, or in small flocks, near water and seldom far from trees, in the forks of which they build intricate domed nests, some 3 to 6 ft (91.5–183 cm) or more in diameter. The nests, to which the birds return each year, are complex, three-compartmented structures, lined with mud and dung, and ornamented outside with bright-colored objects. The female lays a clutch of three to six white eggs. Both sexes care for the highly dependent young. According to native superstitions, hammerheads are evil omens, and it is considered bad luck to harm them. Such superstitions have kept the birds somewhat protected. Hammerheads are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Ciconiiformes, family Scopidae.
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hammerhead

[′ham·ər‚hed]
(design engineering)
The striking part of a hammer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hammerhead

1. any shark of the genus Sphyrna and family Sphyrnidae, having a flattened hammer-shaped head
2. a heavily built tropical African wading bird, Scopus umbretta, related to the herons, having a dark plumage and a long backward-pointing crest: family Scopidae, order Ciconiiformes
3. a large African fruit bat, Hypsignathus monstrosus, with a large square head and hammer-shaped muzzle
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
There are no known cases of hammerheads killing humans.
A HAMMERHEAD shark has been sighted close to the Irish coast for the first time ever, scientists have revealed.
The smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) is distributed from California to Chile within the eastern Pacific Ocean.
* To the species listed as Prohibited (highlighted in red), Florida state laws add: tiger shark, lemon shark and hammerhead sharks (great, scalloped and smooth).
A drone flying over a Florida beach Saturday caught on camera a struggle between a fisherman and a massive hammerhead shark.
Hartwich said that aspect will be particularly important in order to get Hammerheads coffee roasting process certified organic by the U.S.
Hammerhead sharks regularly turn up at fish markets in the Gulf region, where they are valued for export to China where shark fin soup is a delicacy.
Five-metre-long great hammerhead, caught in Oman, brought to Dubai for better profits
FACTFILE The scalloped hammerhead shark is the third largest of the eight species of hammerhead shark.
Our study indicates the big hammerheads probably evolved into smaller hammerheads, and that smaller hammerheads evolved independently twice."
The arrival of the Scalloped Hammerheads follows committed efforts by the team at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo to bring more awareness and popularity for sharks in general through public display and interaction.