The Secretarybird or Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannah of the sub-Sahara. Although a member of the order Accipitriformes, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards, vultures, and harriers, it is given its own family, Sagittariidae.
The Secretary Bird has traditionally been admired in Africa for its striking appearance and ability to deal with pests and snakes. In South Africa, the Secretary Bird, while not the official bird, is featured as a symbol on the national coat of arms, representing vigilance and military might, as well as the rise and pride of modern South Africa.
The Secretary Bird is instantly recognizable as having an eagle-like body on crane-like legs which increases the bird’s height to as much as 1.3 m tall. This bird has an eagle-like head with a hooked bill, but has rounded wings. Body weight can range from 2.3 to 4.4 kg and height is 90–130 cm. Total length from 112 to 152 cm and the wingspan is 191–220 cm. From a distance or in flight it resembles a crane more than a bird of prey.
Secretary Bird is mainly threatened by loss of habitat and deforestation. In 1968 the species became protected under the Africa Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.