A dark brown, long-legged bird with a heavy crest and a flattened bill. The hammer-shaped profile of the head renders this bird unmistakable. In flight, its shape and barred tail lend it a hawk-like appearance, but the long bill and legs rule out confusion with any bird of prey.
Juvenile and immature like adult.
Freshwater dams, lakes and rivers. Nest is a characteristic huge, domed structure of sticks, with small side-entrance, usually in a sturdy tree or on a cliff ledge.
A sharp 'kiep' in flight; a jumbled mixture of querulous squawks and frog-like croaks during courtship.