🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Secretary Birds

'Secretary Bird' watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©

The Secretary Bird has traditionally been admired in Africa for its striking appearance and ability to deal with pests and snakes. As such it has often not been molested, although this is changing as traditional observances have declined.

The Secretary Bird is the national emblem of Sudan as well as a prominent feature on the Coat of arms of South Africa.

The Secretary Bird is largely terrestrial, hunting its prey on foot, and other than the caracara (such as Polyborus plancus), is the only bird of prey to do so habitually. Adults hunt in pairs and sometimes as loose familial flocks, stalking through the habitat with long strides. Prey consists of insects, small mammals, lizards, snakes, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes dead animals killed in brush fires. Larger herbivores are not hunted, although there are some reports of Secretary Birds killing young gazelles.


  1. Great job on the painting, Maree. Do you know how big the bird is. My hubby and I were curious? Terry

  2. Hi! and thanks Terry. This bird is large - about3' long and 4' tall. Another name for this bird is "serpent eagle". that is because it just loves snakes - for dinner! When it finds one, it either kills it with a powerful forward kick or seizes it with its claws and strikes it on the back of its neck with its beak. It uses its wings as shields to keep from being bitten (don't know why I didn't put all this info in the post!)

    Glad to hear from you.



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