Senegal to Ethiopia and Somalia, and South Africa
Ιnsects and rodents, but also other mammals, lizards, snakes, eggs, young birds and amphibians.
Habitat: steppe, savannah, agricultural area, sub-desert.
Incubation: 42-46 days, 1-3 eggs
Social structure: solitary or in life-long pairs
Weight: max 4,2kg
Dimensions: height: max 1,50m, wingspan: max 2,15 m
Lifespan: 10-15 years in the wild, up to 19 years in human care
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Estimated population in the wild: 6,700-67,000
Threats: Poisoning, drowning, roadkill, human interference with nest sites, and habitat loss (areas that are over-grazed leave little cover for prey animals, other areas are being cleared for agricultural fields –where a Secretary bird won't find what it needs to survive.)
Did you know that:
- Τhe bird gets its name from its crest of long feathers that look like the quill pens 19th century secretaries used to tuck behind their ears.
- They kill their prey by stamping it to death, and then they swallow it whole. Their stamps deliver five to six times their own bodyweight in a tenth of the time it takes to blink an eye.
- It is one of the only birds of prey who does more walking than flying
- Their extremely long legs that are covered with scales which prevent snake bites and injuries that may result from the movement across the rough terrain.