Ever heard of the Secretary Bird? Sounds funny, right? Let me tell you all about it.
Secretary birds are unique birds of prey, large in size and belong to the class of “terrestrial birds”. They can live for as long as 10 to 15 years in the wild and sometimes live a few years longer in captivity. They are large birds with an eagle-like body and crane-like leg of about 4-4.5 feet tall.
The name, “Secretary Bird” was coined because it looks like an old-fashioned secretary, derived from their quill-like feather at the back of its head, and light grey feathers resembling a long tailcoat…hahahahaha. Let’s try not to imagine this…
These birds are often found in the fields of the Sub-Sahara Africa region and they prefer to stay on the ground despite the fact they can fly as well. They possess some amazing features different from other species of birds and will be listed below.
Features of Secretary Birds
Secretary birds have a unique look with their long luscious eyelashes which are actually small modified feathers.
They possess a beautiful colour of feathers just like parrots.
Secretary birds are known for their speed in running that they have earned the nickname “devil’s horse.” There is no concrete number on max speed, but they do a lot of walking and they can travel up to 18 miles (30 kilometres) per day.
They are birds that always hunt alone so, they don’t flock together or gather, unlike other birds.
The bird’s wingspan can reach almost 7feet (2meter) wide. This comes in handy for hunting and courtship rituals.
They weigh about 5 to 11 pounds(2.3 to 5kg)
They mate for life after a dramatic courtship ritual. Males perform an elaborate flight pattern for the female, calling to her and showing off his aerial skill. The other part of the ritual is done on the ground.
The male and female secretary birds chase each other in a similar fashion to how they chase prey, with their wings, held up high behind them.
One major importance of this bird is that it is being used as one of the most skilled snake-hunter out there.
In places like South-Africa, these birds are kept in captivity to destroy snakes and rats, amphibians like a lizard, and small animals like rodents and other birds.
On the South-Africa coat of arm, it symbolizes protection, the birth, and growth of the nation. It is also considered a divine messager bird and in appearance with the rest of the coat of arm provides a connection with the earth and heaven.
The main threat to secretary birds is human destruction. They are classified as vulnerable species and could be endangered if we aren’t careful.
Did you enjoy learning about this unique bird? Have you seen these birds in person?
Let know in the comment section. We would love to hear from you.