secretary bird

secretary bird


Definition of SECRETARY BIRD

:  a large long-legged bird of prey (Sagittarius serpentarius of the family Sagittariidae) of sub-Saharan Africa that feeds largely on reptiles

Illustration of SECRETARY BIRD


probably from the resemblance of its crest to a bunch of quill pens stuck behind the ear
First Known Use: 1824

secretary bird

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius).—© Stephen J. Krasemann/Peter Arnold, Inc.

African raptor (Sagittarius serpentarius, family Sagittaridae), the only living bird of prey that hunts on foot. It has long scaly legs, a light-gray body that is 4 ft (1.2 m) long, and a 7-ft (2.1-m) wingspread. It weighs about 8 lbs (3.5 kg). Twenty black crest feathers make it appear to be carrying quill pens behind its ears. Secretary birds kill snakes (their main prey) by stamping on them, flailing them against the ground, or dropping them from aloft. They make their large stick-built nests in thorn trees. Both parents feed the offspring by regurgitation. Secretary birds are protected in most African nations.


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