Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius)
The Secretary Bird is instantly recognised it has an eagle-like body, on crane-like legs giving it a height of as much as 1.3 m (4 ft.). It has an eagle-like head with a hooked bill, but rounded wings. its weight can range from 2.3 to 4.5 kg (5.1 to 9.9 lb.) and height is 90–130 cm (35–51 in). A wingspan of 191–220 cm (75–87 in). The tarsus of the secretary bird averages 31 cm (12 in) and the tail is 57–85 cm (22–33 in), both of which factor into making them both taller and longer than any other species of raptor. The neck is not long, so to drink they must stoop.
Secretary Birds are endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa and are non-migratory, though they may follow food sources. Their range extends from Senegal to Somalia and south to the Cape of Good Hope. They prefer open grasslands or savannahs rather than forests or dense shrub. They roost in the trees but spend the day on the ground, where they hunt on foot. Prey consists of insects, mammals ranging in size from mice, hares, mongoose, crabs, lizards, snakes, tortoises, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes dead animals killed in bush fires.
They can either catch prey by chasing it and striking with the bill and swallowing (usually with small prey), or stamping on prey until it is rendered stunned or unconscious enough to swallow.
The nest is around 2.5 m (eight feet) wide and 30 cm (one foot) deep, and is constructed as a relatively flat basin of sticks. Secretary birds lay two to three oval, pale-green eggs over the course of two to three days.
The Secretary Bird is the national emblem of Sudan as well as a prominent feature on the Coat of arms of South Africa.
Notice all the pens and pencils he carries behind his ears….
Heh 🙂 I love watching this bird on wildlife docos. Great photos!
It is a great one to watch ..specially when he spots his food…
& I love the head dress
Is a very weird looking bird…and it does look like a secretary, pencils and all 😉
I’ve never looked at one of these up close before. How apt is their name………..just brilliant! 🙂 Nice pics and info again.
Thanks .. a bit of a mixture when one does take a good look… but they are always in a hurry to get somewhere which makes taking photos not so easy…
I think I may be related to this bird, those legs look familiar. ha ha
What beautiful legs you have…
This bird has the same length on its leg as I have. That photo with two birds is very good. Like their tiaras and of course it’s only the male that has them. Any animals that … like snakes for dinner … have my vote.
Yes to see him beating his dinner to death is quite a sight…
I think I seen this bird on TV – just doing what you had the chance to see – some fearful power they have when it comes to killing. Must been amazing to watch alive.
At least this secretary bird has nice long legs to run away from the boss who would want give chase around the desk! 😉
Yea.. not going to be easy catching this one…
Ah, but isn’t the trill in the chase? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never had to race around anyone’s desk because they were in hot pursuit…
Seeing your photo now and not just a half face… I can’t think why not…
Aw, you’re sweet. I guess I was good at avoiding that type of office job! 😉
Very interesting. There is something human-like about those long legs!
There is .. but to see him stamping on a snake.. some thing very powerful about those legs
Very interesting … now that is one heck of a beak! Thanks for continuing to share the native species of your land that are nothing like I’ve ever seen.
Thank you Frank it is a pleasure… odd bird though..
He looks like a Secretary indeed. I like his knickerbockers… 😀
Strange bird.. oddly dressed… a real bitsa..
Such long legs!
All the way up to the bum
Very elegant birds and very nice pictures. (Suzanne)
Hehehehehe!!! This is quite an amazing bird..:)
That it is… thanks ..
Amazing looking creature – I love the eyes and those feather pens.
I am tending to agree with a lot of the comments… a bit of this and a bit of that all put into one bird…
This is a very big bird. Would it peck you or chase you if you came close to it’s nest?
I was going to ask how it got it’s name, but now see that is fully explained. These are great shots. Thank you! 😀
No a pretty timid bird.. but I have witnessed one with a snake… beat the cr..p out of it with its foot and then swallowed it whole…
I am a secretary bird 😉
Ok .. I’m sure you look better than that.. and have a better dress sense…
ha ha ha 🙂
It’s so hilariously gorgeous!
Thank you.. a strange bird… A bitsa…bits of this and bits of that
He is very fashionable, with those black bloomer-style capri pants.
That he is… but a strange dress sense…
Like a long legged chicken doing a Mick Jagger imitation. Another amazing creature from planet bulldog!
Now that gave me a laugh .. just like Mic Jagger… got those strange moves like him as well…
A rather interesting fellow…..thanks for sharing!
A pleasure.. glad you enjoyed
Thank you, excellent information as always accompanied by great photos. Fascinating bird! 🙂
Thank you.. I appreciate the comment…
My pleasure, I enjoy all kinds of life on our planet and being introduced to new varieties is always a special treat for me! 🙂
It’s a very elegant looking bird.
thank you.. but I do like the comment made “it looks like a chicken on stilts”…lol
haha yes that is funny! I wonder though…does it taste like chicken? That’s what I always hear when there’s a food I haven’t tried yet…
This is one amazing photo shoot! I can’t get over the height of this bird!! From the side it kind of looks like a chicken on stilts!!!
Now that is a good description for this bird… thank you…
How handy! If they want to leave a note for their flockmates, they can just reach behind their ears and grab a pencil to leave a note in the sand. “Off to catch that mongoose. Back in a flash.”: (big arrow in the sand shows the direction he went.)
I like that… often wondered where those black arrows in the sand came from..lol
A very interesting bird. But how did it get that name?
The feathers that come out of the head look like the feathered pens of the past, stuck behind it’s ear… it is from that, I’m told, the name originated…I quote…
“How Did the Secretary-Bird Get Its Name?
Long ago, secretaries wrote and copied letters by hand. They stuck quill pens behind their ears when they weren’t using them. The black plumes of this bird reminded people of quill pens. So they named the bird the secretary-bird.”