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Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird

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Scientific Name:

Sagittarius serpentarius


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It  is one of the only birds of prey who does more walking than flying
  4. 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.

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