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Secretary Bird
Secretary Bird
Bird. A relative of the hawk, the secretary bird is the only bird of prey who does more walking than flying, up to 20 miles a day. With very large, broad wings, secretary birds are also strong fliers and use thermal air currents to rise and soar. When hunting, they stamp on the ground to flush out small animals, then run in a zigzag pattern, flapping their wings to confuse their prey. Their name may refer to the crest of black-tipped feathers, thought to resemble 18th century male secretaries with quill pens in their wigs. Or the name may come from the Arabic “saqu ettair,” meaning hunter-bird, which translates into French as “secretaire.”
Scientific Name Lifespan
Sagittarius serpentarius 20 years in captivity
Carnivore. Snakes (puff adders and cobras), large insects, hares, reptiles, and rodents.
Predators and Threats
Eagles, snakes, large carnivores, and humans.
Dry plains, savanna and sparsely covered grasslands south of the Sahara. Also South Africa.