Secretary Bird.. the Accountant of the Bush..

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.

Kalagadi 594

Kalagadi 595

Kalagadi 593

Kalagadi 592

Kalagadi 587

Kalagadi 584

Kalagadi 580

Kalagadi 583

Notice all the pens and pencils he carries behind his ears….

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57 thoughts on “Secretary Bird.. the Accountant of the Bush..

  1. 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.

  2. 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! 😀

  3. 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.)

    • 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.”

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