The Secretary Bird
sagittarius serpentarius

Are you planning a Uganda Birding Safari to the savannah plains at the end of your business trip to Africa, then you need to familiarise with this interesting 17th Century Secretary bird.

You wouldn't want to miss it I know!

The secretary bird is a rare bird and the only species in its sagittaridae family.

This African bird secures its common name from the Arabic word “saqu ettais”, which translates to French to mean hunter-bird, “secrataire”.

A fanciful story in that name originates from the pen-like quills which dangle off the bird’s head; these are said to resemble the quills 17th century clerks carried, tucked into their wigs.

In this section of the Uganda Birding Safari Guide we share with you information about Secretary Birds in Uganda in order to make your Bird watching tour to Africa even more rewarding.

You will find information about:

Where to find the Secretary Bird in Uganda

You will find the Secretary bird mainly inhabiting the savannahs, steppes and plains.

You might occasionally find it in very light bushy areas as well.

On your birding tour in Uganda you will have high chances of viewing this bird when you visit Queen Elizabeth National Park.

How you will know that you've seen a Secretary Bird

You will see a bird more than a meter long with plumage which is mostly white, having bands of black on its wings,and on top of the legs.

The Secretary bird has shaggy central tail feathers.

The shape of the head, bald face and strong bill resemble the caracara.

Secretary birds do not have the grasping claws like other birds of prey do.

Their claws are thick and blunt but armed with short, curved talons.

Unlike other raptors, they have long legs, wings and tail.

Interesting Facts about the Secretary Bird

The Secretary bird is usually very quiet except during the mating season when it emits hoarse croaks.

You will find this Uganda bird dieting mostly on insects, lizards, small birds, eggs, hares, small tortoises (whole!) and rodents.

Did you know?

The secretary bird is a true specialist in hunting and killing of snakes.

So, get it into your yard and you won't worry about snake bites again!

Though you will normally find the Secretary birds on the ground hunting for food, these birds can fly well and soar in the same manner as vultures,though this they will only do when necessary.

Even when you attempt pursuing these birds, they will rely upon their ability to walk quickly, rather than take flight. Secretary birds may spread their wings in doing this though, to aid their running.

These African birds are the only birds of prey with terrestrial habits.

Did you know?

It is not unusual for a secretary bird to walk distances of up to 20 miles in a single day.

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