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Secretary Bird

Zoo Location: Savannah
 Secretary Bird
Habitat

Open and lightly wooded grassland, sub-desert and savannah.

Wild Diet

Small mammals, insects, snakes, lizards, eggs and amphibians.

Behaviour

Secretary birds are a terrestrial (ground-dwelling) bird of prey and can walk up to 20 to 30 kilometres a day hunting for prey. They will strike prey with their beak or stomp on it until it is dead. Whilst attacking prey they will flap their wings and raise the long crest feathers on the back of their head to act as a distraction.

Breeding

Secretary birds are monogamous, which means a pair bonds for life. Following a courtship that is performed in flight, the female secretary bird will lay a clutch of one to three eggs, which are incubated for around 42 to 46 days. The nestling period typically lasts between 65 to 106 days.

Threats

Habitat destruction due to agriculture and urban development. Whilst they can still survive in a farming landscape, closer proximity to humans causes problems with disturbance and hunting.

Conservation

More research is needed to assess their current population decline. They are listed on Appendix II of CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species) so international trade is regulated and the species is protected in some areas.

 Secretary Bird

INFORMATION

  • Latin Name: Sagittarius serpentarius
  • Class: Birds
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Sagittariidae
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable
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