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

Illustration of secretary bird

Examples of secretary bird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The presence of humans—mainly herders—is known to interfere with secretary bird breeding. National Geographic, 26 June 2020 While their signature feather crown and slender legs give these birds a regal air, the secretary bird is more mobster than monarch. Michael Cross; Story By Tom Page, CNN, 9 July 2020 The secretary bird is distinguished by its long legs and a dramatic black crest of feathers on the back of its head. National Geographic, 26 June 2020 The secretary bird is the tallest bird of prey in the world. National Geographic, 26 June 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'secretary bird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from the resemblance of its crest to a bunch of quill pens stuck behind the ear

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of secretary bird was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near secretary bird

Cite this Entry

“Secretary bird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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