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Secretary Bird: Sagittariidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And ReproductionGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, SECRETARY BIRDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

They live south of the Sahara Desert in Africa, except for the heavily wooded areas in western Africa.

Secretary birds live wherever there are plenty of prey animals available in a variety of grasslands and farmlands. They may enter deserts after a heavy rain, and they sometimes go to clearings in forests. They roost and nest in low trees growing in the grasslands. They cannot live in heavy forests, because it is difficult for them to fly among the trees.


Scientists study the pellets of secretary birds. The bones and feathers in the pellets give them an easy way to find out what the birds have been eating. The birds are valuable to farmers because they eat insects and rodents that might otherwise eat grain. Bird watchers in Africa enjoy seeing these long-legged raptors that are famous for killing snakes.


Secretary birds are not threatened, and they are protected by laws in most African countries, although some people hunt them illegally.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Bailey, Jill. Birds of Prey. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1988.

Burton, Maurice and Robert Burton. International Wildlife Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. Vol. 17. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2002.

Burton, Philip, and Trevor Boyer. Birds of Prey. New York: Gallery Books, 1989.

Parry-Jones, Jemima. Eyewitness: Eagle & Birds of Prey. London and New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.

Petty, Kate. Birds of Prey. New York: Gloucester Press, 1987.

Reid, Struan. Bird World. Brookfield, CN: The Millbrook Press, 1991.

Stuart, Chris and Tilde. Birds of Africa, From Seabirds to Seed-Eaters. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.

van Perlo, Ber. Birds of Southern Africa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Weidensaul, Scott. The Raptor Almanac. New York: The Lyons Press, 2000.


Periodicals:

"Birds of Africa (The Secretary Bird)." Scienceland (Spring 1997): 24–25.

Holtzen, Ellen. "The Fire Bird." Ranger Rick (November 1984): 46–47.

Kemp, M. I., and A. C. Kemp. "Bucorvus and Sagittarius: Two Modes of Terrestrial Predation." Proceedings Symposium on African Predatory Birds, ed. Alan Kemp. Northern Transvaal Ornithological Society, Pretoria. (1977).


Web sites:

"Secretary Bird." The Big Zoo. http://www.thebigzoo.com/Animals/Secretary_Bird.asp (accessed May 17, 2004).

"Secretary Bird." The Hawk Conservancy Trust. http://www.hawkconservancy.org/priors/secretry.shtml (accessed May 17, 2004).

"Secretary Bird." Indiana University. http://www.cogsci.indiana.edu/farg/harry/bio/zoo/secrtary.htm (accessed May 17, 2004).

"Secretary Bird." Kenya Birds. http://www.kenyabirds.org.uk/secretary.htm (accessed May 17, 2004).

Raptor Conservation Group, Endangered Wildlife Trust. http://www.ewt.org.za

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds