Distribution

I his large species, inhabiting grassland and open spaces, is an unusual type of bird of prey that has adapted itself so fully to a life of hunting on the ground that it rarely flies. This has resulted in its unusual appearance, with a tall, slender build, long legs, small feet, and long neck. The long wings and tail are useful mainly for keeping balance when the bird is walking, running, hunting, or engaged in territorial fights, which always take place on the ground, f light is j-1 ^ . f mainly restricted to visiting trees to roost and nest. The name of this species dates from pre-industrial times, when secretaries were court officials who carried quill pens tucked behind their ears. The Secretary Bird walks with a steady stride, nodding its head forward with each step. It catches and kills prey on the ground, using its hill or stamping with its feet. When catching a snake, it holds out its wings to change its outline, which confuses the snake and prevents it from striking. I'rey also includes insects, frogs, lizards, birds, and rodents. • NliST A Hat platform made of sticks and twigs, with a hollow in the center, lined with grass, dung, and pellets of the undigested remains of prey, and placed on top of a bush or tree.

DISTRIBUTION Africa south of the Sahara.

REMARK This is the African counterpart of the Red-legged Sericma, a grassland bird of

slim, athletic • build for hunting on the ground in open country strong legs for waiting and running in grassland small feet can not hold or seize prey but are used to stump it to death

Plumage Sexesa||ke

Habitat

Migration Non.migrant

shaggy rrest dims

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