Hammerheads are carnivorous, meat eaters, and they eat many different kinds of animals found in or near water. The prey that they eat varies according to where they live. In south and east Africa, the birds usually catch clawed frogs. In other areas, they are more likely to hunt for small fish. Wherever they live, they also eat shrimp and other crustaceans, small mammals, large insects, worms, and water snails. The hammerheads that live near people sometimes dig around in garbage piles for tasty leftovers.
While wading into shallow water, hammerheads pick their prey from among the plants. They may stir up small animals in the water with their feet, or flick their wings to encourage the prey to move. Sometimes the birds hunt from the air. They capture tadpoles or small fish while flying slowly over the water.
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