Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) - African Wildlife and Nature Photographs


Family: Sagittariidae

Genus: Sagittarius

The Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large bird of prey that is endemic to Africa. This raptor is easily and immediately recognisable due to its size, as much as 1.3 m (4 ft) tall with a wingspan of some 191–220 cm (75–87 in). With a typical raptor like head somewhat eagle like, it also has long crane like legs the Secretarybird can also weigh in as much as 4.02 kg (8.9 lb).

The Secretarybird has many distinctive features but non perhaps so distinctive than its long black head feathers, which it is said the bird supposedly was named because it resembled an old-fashioned 'secretary' carrying quill-pens tucked behind her ears. Otherwise it's feathers on the body are on the most part grey across the back and paler towards the rump and breast the underside, thighs and its flight feathers are all black. Eyes are brown and are surrounded by bare facial skin that is a deep orange-red, and the bill is blue-grey in colour.

The Secretarybird lives on quite a varied diet of insects and small mammals, snakes, frogs, even other birds and their eggs. Often seen walking the veld in pairs the Secretarybird is in so many ways unlike other birds of prey as these raptors are mostly terrestrial, often see walking among the grasslands and savannah of Sub-Saharan Africa looking for food only returning to trees to roost just before dark .

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