The Secretary Bird is one of the many creatures that are very distinctive in their look. With long legs and dark feathers to the back of their heads along with grey wings and tail feathers and jet-black feathers halfway down their legs and beautiful yellow coloring around their eyes, they certainly stand out. It is this look that gave them their name as when they were discovered in the 1800s, they looked very much like the male secretaries of the time – who wore grey tailcoats and knee-length trousers in a dark grey or black. This is very different from the variety of people that you find working in Virtual PA services like those provided by https://www.mushroombiz.co.uk/homepage/services/virtual-pa/ nowadays.
They are related to raptor birds like buzzards, kites, and harriers although they differ in one key way, they spend most of their daily life walking on the ground rather than soaring in the clouds above. Whilst most of the day is spent on the ground, they do fly up into the treetops where they nest at night and rear their young. It is easy to spot a Secretary Bird in flight as their long lean legs tail behind them.
They reach over four feet in height and this gives them an added advantage in being able to identify any prey that may be moving in the short grass of the savanna landscapes that they love. As soon as the dawn arrives the birds fly down from their nesting spots to start hunting around their territory which can be around 50 square kilometers in size, and they can cover around 20 miles a day whilst they are hunting. During the hottest part of the day, the birds can be seen resting under the shade of the trees, before beginning hunting again until dusk. They use a variety of techniques to catch their prey including stalking through the grasses looking for snakes, small mammals and reptiles and then using their beaks to strike at the animal or they use their feet to stamp on it. The birds will then often swallow their food whole! They very rarely will use their feet to carry their prey and will instead eat their kills immediately or will carry the food in their beaks.
These really are incredible birds to watch, although many of us will never be lucky enough to see them in the wild.
Published by Sunil Pandey