The Secretary bird or the hunter bird is one of the terrestrial birds among the larger carnivorous birds. With the Arabic name of “Saqr-et-tair”, means, “hawk or falcon of the desert” is the habitat of open savannahs and grasslands. The “Saqr-et-tair” later became “Secretaire” in French. The Secretary Bird scientific name is “Sagittarius Serpentarius”.
Being a terrestrial bird, the secretary bird also has an important role in the ecosystem. In this context, we are going to give some facts about the geographic range, environment, and role in the ecosystem of the secretary bird.
Sagittarius Serpentarius (Secretary Bird)
The scientific name of the secretary bird is “Sagittarius serpentarius”. As per Etymology, the “Sagitta” means arrow, which perfectly shows the characteristics of walking or running to search the food. In the early 18th century, there was a position named “sagittario” reserved by the king in his army for the best archers.
If the etymology researchers imagined the quill pens stocked in the wig of the old clerk for the secretary name, then they also have been imagined for “sagittario”, which means the archers who held arrows on their back in a quiver with a black crest end.
The “Serpentarius” word came from the Latin word “serpens”, or “serpentis”, which means, “Snake as its favorite prey”. That’s why the “Sagittarius Serpentarius” means “the one who runs faster in search of the snake”. This is one of the most amazing facts about the Secretary Bird.
However, the raptors, who hunt in the daytime, are divided into three orders as per their structural characteristics and genetic location. The orders are Catarthiformes, Falconiformes and the Accipitriformes. The Secretary bird that belongs to the order Accipitriformesand an only member of the Sagittaridaefamily.
If we go after the geography as a habitat of secretary bird, then the open savannahs, grasslands, scrublands, semi-desert are the habitat for secretary birds.
If we consider their geographical location as per their masses, then the Africa continent is the home for them. Except for the areas of thick vegetation and forests, you can mostly find them in sub-Saharan locations from Senegal of the west and Ethiopia of the east to the downward covering the south part of the Africa continent.
In southern areas of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, and Nigeria, they are rare to see. Sierra Leone and Liberia are the exceptional sub-Saharan countries to find this bird species.
In particular National Parks in Tanzania or a small area, they make their territory for the food. After courtship or mating their partner, male and female birds make their territory 40-50 square Kilometers from their nest. You can see this bird walking or running restlessly searching for their prey.
They prefer those areas where the grass is not taller than 1 meter. You cannot find them in fully deserted areas and heavily wooded areas, but can be found south of the Sahara desert.
As a hunter bird for both invertebrates and vertebrates, the secretary is famous for hunting the snakes. Secretary Bird maintains the balance of ecological health by hunting both the prey and predators. For example, the secretary bird eats both rodents and venomous snakes.
As this bird is a terrestrial, it kills the prey on foot. The secretary bird feeds on insects, rodents, mongoose, lizards, tortoises, crabs, small birds, bird eggs, hares, small and medium-sized mammals.
The young gazelles and cheetah cubs have hunted the secretary bird, but it is not confirmed yet. Having a thick and long leg, they run restlessly and hunt their prey by stomping on them.
The nest of secretary bird built at a height between 2.5 to 13 meters which are vulnerable for the predators for young or newborn birds. In captivity, their nests are more vulnerable to the predators without the proper care of young birds.
Economic Importance for Humans
The secretary bird has a positive effect on humans. A long time ago, the secretary birds were kept by people as a pet to protect their agriculture land and farms from the rodents and insects. The secretary bird was also favored by a human for killing the snake those are found in the farm or agricultural property.
By feeding on insects or pests, there is no loss or damage to agriculture products which gives positive results for the economy.
During your Tanzania safari, you can see them as a fast runner, mostly in Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Arusha and Serengeti National Park. If you are lucky enough, you can see them as snake hunters. For More Information about the Secretary Bird make Sure to Visit our Blog Pages @ https://jerrytanzaniatours.com/blog/