Paula Gilhooley…Secretary Bird in the Kalahari

IMG_3681One of the most unusual birds you will encounter in the Kalahari  (and sometimes in Kruger National Park) is the Secretary Bird.  this large distinctive raptor has extremely long legs and long neck.  It has broad wings and soars strongly, but it usually hunts for its prey by walking through open vegetation.  It will often kill its prey by stomping on it.

The Secretary Bird is known for killing snakes and other reptiles, but it also eats a wide range of small animals including insects.

Its the birds head plumes that gives it its name as it looks like a bunch of pencils sticking out much like a secretary might have in a busy office.  The secretary bird has a characteristic long gate and horizontal body posture.  In flight the two central tail feathers project well beyond the legs and the black flight feathers and thighs contrast with the pale grey body.

Secretary Birds can be seen singly or in pairs.IMG_4551

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