Secretarybird

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Secretarybird
In Serengeti National Park
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Sagittariidae
Genus: Sagittarius
Binomial name
Sagittarius serpentarius [2]

The secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large terrestrial bird of prey. It is usually found in African savannas and open grasslands.

Unlike most birds of prey, the secretarybird hunts its prey on foot. Adults hunt in pairs and sometimes as family flocks. They stalk through the grass with long strides. Prey includes insects, mammals from mice to hares and mongoose, crabs, lizards, snakes, tortoises, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes dead animals killed in grass or bushfires.

The bird is famous for hunting snakes. It even hunts venomous cobras and other reptiles. Its claws are weak and blunt, so to make a kill, it stomps on its victim, breaking its back.

It is put in its own family on the basis of molecular sequence analysis.[3]

Size[change | change source]

Standing up, the secretarybird is nearly 4.5 feet (1.3 m) tall.[4]

References[change | change source]

  1. BirdLife International (2013). "Sagittarius serpentarius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/22696221. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. birdlife.org [1]
  3. Wink, Michael; Seibold I.; Lotfikhah F. & Bednarek W. 1998. Molecular systematics of holarctic raptors (Order Falconiformes) in Chancellor R.D; Meyburg B.-U. & Ferrero J.J. (eds) Holarctic birds of prey: 29–48. Adenex & WWGBP.
  4. Brinkley, Edward S. 2003. Reader's Digest pathfinders: creatures of the air and sea. Singapore: Reader's Digest Children's Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-7944-0353-0 .