The Hamerkop, also known as the Lightning Bird, is one of Africa's most fascinating species and the subject of many traditional beliefs amongst the people of Africa.
Known as the Lightning Bird for the belief in some cultures that people who tamper with its nest will be struck by lightning, the Hamerkop is certainly one of the strangest looking birds in Africa. The Hamerkop is the only species in the family Scopidae and is the subject of many beliefs throughout Africa.
It is believed by some African people that if a Hamerkop flies over your home, the abode has to burnt down or bad luck will follow. It is also believed by some that if a Hamerkop calls in the evening someone will pass away during the night.
The white-water rafting guides on the Zambezi River will scream and shout and wave their arms when a hamerkop approaches the rafts. This is to chase the bird from its flight path so that it does not fly over the rafts and bring bad luck. Farmers in parts of South Africa believed that if a hamerkop flew upriver calling, then there would be goods rains to follow.