where does the secretary bird live

Description edit The secretarybird has distinctive black feathers protruding from behind its head.

The secretarybird is easily identified as a massive terrestrial bird with a head and body resembling an eagle and legs resembling cranes. It stands about 1. 3 m (4 ft 3 in) tall. [24] It has a length of between 1. 1 and 1. 5 meters (3 and 4 feet 11 inches) and a wingspan of approximately 1 9 and 2. 1 meter (6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 11 inches) [25] The weight ranges from 3. 74 to 4. 27 kg (8. 2 to 9. 4 lb), with a mean of 4. 05 kg (8. 9 lb). [26] It is taller and longer than any other raptor species due to its average tarsus of 31 cm (12 in) and tail of 57–85 cm (22–33 in). [25] Because of their short necks, which only extend to the intertarsal joint, birds have to bend over in order to reach the ground. [27] Dorsal (above) and ventral views of the long tail and legs while in flight

When in flight, the neck spreads out like a stork, and the two elongated central feathers of the tail extend past the feet. [27] The underparts and underwing coverts are lighter grey to grey-white, while the crown, upperparts, and lesser and median wing coverts have blue-grey plumage. Long black feathers that rise from the nape form the crest. Its black scapulars, primary and secondary flight feathers, rump, and thighs contrast with its white uppertail coverts, which in certain cases are barred with black. [24] The wedge-shaped tail has two broad black bands, one at the base and the other at the end, and white tipping. The base is colored in a gradation of grey and black. [24][27].

The two sexes are similar, but the male typically has more blue-grey plumage, a shorter head, longer tail feathers, and more head plumes. Adults feature a yellow cere, pale brown irises, and a reddish-orange face devoid of feathers. Black feathers adorn the upper legs, while the legs and feet are a pinkish grey color. The short toes are approximately 2020% of the length of those of an eagle of the same size and stoutness, making it impossible for the bird to grasp objects with its feet. The three forward-facing toes are joined at the base by a tiny web, and the rear toe is tiny. [27] Immature birds have more brownish plumage, shorter tail feathers, and greyish rather than brown irises. They also have yellow rather than orange bare skin on their faces. [24].

Although they are usually silent, adults occasionally make a deep, guttural croaking sound during mating rituals or at nests. [24] Secretarybirds make this sound to greet their partners, to show aggression, or to engage in combat with other birds. They occasionally do this while simultaneously tossing their heads back. When alarmed, the secretarybird may emit a high-pitched croak. At the nest, mated pairs make gentle calls like whistling or clucking. [27] During the first 30 days of life, chicks make a sharp sound that is heard as “chee-uk-chee-uk-chee-uk.” [24].

Distribution and habitat edit

The secretarybird is native to sub-Saharan Africa and is primarily sedentary, though it may occasionally move locally in response to rainfall and the consequent abundance of food. [27] Its range reaches the Western Cape of South Africa in the south and Senegal in the north. [24].

Additionally, the species can be found in a range of elevations, from highlands to coastal plains. Open grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (Karoo) are preferred by the secretarybird over forests and dense shrubbery, which could obstruct its cursorial existence. [27] More specifically, it prefers areas with grass under 0. 5 m (1 ft 8 in) high and stays away from those with grass higher than 1 m (3 ft 3 in). It may avoid hotter regions because it is rarer in grasslands in the northern parts of its range, which otherwise resemble areas in southern Africa where it is abundant. It also avoids deserts. [24].

Taxonomy edit

Cathartidae – New World vultures (7 species)

Sagittariidae – Secretarybird

Accipitridae – Kites, hawks and eagles (256 species)

Pandionidae – Osprey

Position of the secretarybird in the order Accipitriformes. The cladogram is based on a molecular phylogenetic analysis published in 2008.[3][4]

Based on a live specimen that had been sent to Holland from the Cape of Good Hope two years prior by a Dutch East India Company official, the Dutch naturalist Arnout Vosmaer described the secretarybird in 1769. Vosmaer proposed that the reason the Dutch settlers gave the species the name “sagittarius” was because they believed its gait to be similar to an archer’s. Additionally, he said that farmers who had tamed the bird to control pests around their homesteads called it the “secretarius” and suggested that the word may have been derived from the word “sagittarius.” [5][6] According to Ian Glenn of the University of the Free State, Vosmaers’ “sagittarius” is actually a mistranscribed or misheard form of “secretarius,” not the other way around. [7] Plate from.

At a Zoological Society of London meeting in 1835, Irish naturalist William Ogilby proposed three species of secretarybirds. He distinguished between those from Senegambia and South Africa based on the width of their crest feathers, and he reported a new species from the Philippines based on Pierre Sonnerat’s writings in Voyage à la Nouvelle-Guinée. [14] There is no other evidence this taxon existed. [15] The secretarybird is regarded as monotypic, with no recognized subspecies, despite its wide distribution. [4].

Ornithologists have long been perplexed by the secretarybird’s evolutionary relationship to other raptors. Typically, the species was assigned to the Sagittariidae family within the Falconiformes order. [16] According to a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analysis published in 2008, the secretarybird belonged to the same clade as the ospreys in the Pandionidae family and the kites, hawks, and eagles in the Accipitridae family. The same study discovered that the other diurnal birds of prey were only distantly related to the falcons in the order Falconiformes. As a result, the families Accipitridae, Pandionidae, Sagittariidae, and Cathartidae were transferred from Falconiformes to the revived Accipitriformes. [3][a] These relationships were validated by a subsequent molecular phylogenetic study published in 2015. [18].

Two species belonging to the genus Pelargopappus are the earliest fossils connected to the family. The two species were found in France and date to the Oligocene and Miocene, respectively. Since the feet in these fossils resemble those of the Accipitridae more, it is hypothesized that these traits are ancestral within the family. The two species are not believed to be ancestral to the secretarybird, despite their age. [19][20] The extinct raptor Apatosagittarius is believed to be an accipitrid, despite having strong similarities to the contemporary secretarybird. [21].

The official common name for the species is “secretarybird,” as designated by the International Ornithologists Union. [4] In 1780, the French polymath Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon proposed that the reason behind the choice of the name secretary/secrétaire was the long feathers at the top of the bird’s neck, which resembled a quill pen behind an old scribe’s ear. [19] In 1977, C. “Secretary” comes from the French secrétaire, which is a corruption of the Arabic صقر الطير saqr et-tair, which means “hawk of the semi-desert” or “hawk that flies,” according to Aberdeen University’s Hilary Fry. [23] Glenn rejected this etymology, arguing that there is no proof the name originated in French and that Buffon’s theory—that the word originated from the Dutch secretaris, or “secretary,” used by settlers in South Africa—is more likely to be true. [7].


How many secretary birds are left in the world?

IUCN fact sheet states 6,700-67,000 mature individuals.

Do secretary birds mate for life?

Secretary birds mate for life. Mating displays take place both in the air and on the ground. They perform aerial courtship displays, similar to other raptors, called “pendulum flights.” The bird will swoop down, then up again, repeating the undulating pattern over and over.

Can you have a secretary bird as a pet?

You would have to look into your local zoning laws, regarding exotic animals. But, aside from that, you would need alot of room (forget keeping it in a cage, they’re large birds), the proper diet (I believe they eat reptiles and insects), and you would first need to find a breeder who has one for sale.