Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird

Sagittarius serpentarius
Secretary Bird at Tayto Park

About Me

The Secretary bird has a distinctive and striking appearance, instantly recognisable by the long black crest feathers which protrude from the back of its head, as a headpiece. Other distinguishing characteristics include a bare patch of bright red skin found on its face, two large tail feathers which trail behind their rump and long slender legs. 

The Secretary bird is mostly terrestrial, which means they spend their time on the ground. Like all other birds of prey, the secretary bird is a predator and hunts for its food. Their long legs help them to walk through the long grass while seeking out prey on the ground.  Though they hunt on the ground, the secretary bird is well adept at flying! In the evening they will roost, atop Acacia trees (a favourite food of giraffes). The secretary bird also has a unique hunting style when compared to other birds of prey. Their feet have sharp claws, also known as talons. By using its powerful legs, they will stamp their foot down on top of its prey, immobilising their prey and then usually swallow it whole.



The secretary bird forms monogamous pairs, with means they mate for life. Breeding can occur throughout any time of the year. The species build large nests, over two meters wide, atop Acacia trees. The nests are flat and mostly made from sticks.Females lay up to three eggs, which require an incubation of >40 days. During the incubation period, it is mostly the female that cares for the eggs. However, both parents are involved in feeding and rearing the chicks. The chicks take quite a long time to leave the nest and fledge after 65–80 days. Parents then teach the chicks how to hunt on the groun

Conservation Status:


LC Least Concern NT Near Threatened VU Vulnerable EN Endangered CR Critically Endangered EX Extinct

Human interference, through habitat disturbance, hunting and capture for trade.

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Conservation at Tayto Park