Secretarybird ( Sagittarius serpentarius, family: Sagittariidae)

secretarybird kruger national park birds The Secretarybird (Latin name Sagittarius serpentarius) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 118 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 542 also a picture of the Secretarybird on page 481. The Secretarybird belongs to the family of birds classified as Sagittariidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Secretarybird is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the Secretarybird in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Secretarybird : see above distribution map.

Kruger Park SecretarybirdIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Secretarybird is a large bird very much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Secretarybird is about 125 cms and its weight is about 4000 gms

You will find that the male Secretarybird plumage and colours are different to that of the female Secretarybird

  • Head is blue, grey.
  • Eye is grey.
  • Bill is orange.
  • Throat is grey.
  • Back is grey.
  • Legs are pink.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Secretarybird feeds on the ground mainly


Smaller animals


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Secretarybird is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Sagittarius serpentarius will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Secretarybird is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Secretarybird are: grasslands . The Secretarybird is also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.. Comments about the Secretarybird :also eats stones to help it digest food.

You will not see Secretarybird in flocks. The bird prefers to act singly or in pairs.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ingxangxosi

Zulu ... iNtungunono

Afrikaans ...Sekretarisvol

German ... Sekretr

Portuguese ... Secretrio

French ... Messager sagittaire

Dutch ... Secretarisvogel

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 118

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,