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 ?
Bioenergetics of free-ranging juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in Kane'ohe Bay, O'ahu, HI.
It was not clear what particular species of the hammerhead shark was killed, but the incident was enough for the DENR chief to take action.
An exception can be the Sphyrnidae hammerhead sharks, whose visual range apparently do not overlap each other, limiting the binocular sight, even though, they reach a wide 360 degrees visual range due to the sinusoidal swimming pattern (Hueter, 2004).
She added that hammerhead sharks, the most threatened, might be saved from total collapse as a result.
At the plenary convened Thursday, Japan, together with China and other countries, made unsuccessful attempts to reopen debate on the oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks.
7 at Resorts World Sentosa with over 100,000 marine creatures, including manta rays and hammerhead sharks, on display.
"I'd just been on the Galapagos Islands, diving with hammerhead sharks," she says.
Earlier, Palfrey's support team reported that she had suffered "constant" jellyfish stings overnight and that her mouth was "very sore and painful" while a school of hammerhead sharks was briefly sighted below her.
Vertebrae from 245 scalloped hammerhead sharks were aged, ranging between 48 and 344 cm total length, 115 were male and 116 were female and 14 were of unknown sex.
The sea around the island boasts an abundance of sharks, including the white tipped reef shark, enormous whale sharks, and scalloped hammerhead sharks.