The Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large bird of prey native to the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa. The birds can reach a height of 1.4 m and a wingspan of up to 2.2 m. Characteristic are their long legs which are unique among birds of prey. Unlike other raptors, the birds spend most of their time on the ground hunting for snakes, other reptiles, small mammals, birds, insects etc.
Secretarybirds build their nests on bushes or small acacia trees. The one to three fledglings have a large number of enemies: crows, owls, kites etc. and unfortunately, not many survive the first weeks after hatching. The adults form monogamous pairs and stay together even after the offspring left. Also noteworthy is the iconic status of the Secretarybird in many African countries! Therefore, the bird is present in national symbols of South Africa and Sudan.
I took the photographs in this post during a trip to the Etosha National Park in Namibia during February 2007. Unfortunately, the birds were always too far away for my camera… another reason to go back to Africa!