The secretary is a large African bird who is directly related to eagles and hawks.
It got its name from the ‘quill-like crests on the back of its head, this resembles 18th-century clerks with pens into their wigs.
This bird is also famous for another standout feature, its long and prominent eyelashes any makeup model would kill for.
Brian Connolly has been a nature photographer for nearly 15 years, and he is still impressed with the secretary bird. He speaks to Bored Panda:
“From what I’ve seen, the secretary bird is truly unique. These exotic birds hunt snakes on the ground by stomping them with their dinosaur-looking legs and talons.”
Don’t let the look of these pretty birds fool you, they are carnivorous raptors and feed on a variety of prey.
They even have the ability to kill snakes on African grasslands. They hunt a lot of their prey on foot, which is unlike many birds of prey.
But their diet doesn’t stop at just snakes such as cobras. They have a diverse pallet that involves consuming lizards, rodents, amphibians, and even bird eggs.
If the prey is small enough, it will get consumed whole, whereas larger prey is savagely stamped to death before being eaten.
“The challenges of photographing secretary birds are similar of any wildlife photographer. They move quickly and getting them sharp and in focus is always a challenge.”
To be honest, these birds are so pretty, you wouldn’t peg them as savage birds of prey.
They are huge too, they can measure around 4.5 feet in height and weigh around 7 pounds. Their wingspan alone can reach up to 6.5 feet.
They have very long and strong legs which they use to deal with their prey. Instead of grasping toes that most birds have, their toes are tick and blunt.
They prefer open grasslands and savannas full of trees. They also prefer short grass to make hunting easier.
The secretary bird’s nests are huge and can measure 8 feet wide and 1 foot deep, it’s also common for the nests to get bigger by the year.
Their courtship involves a mutual display of chasing each other around while their wings are spread up and backward, just like when they hunt.
This stunning bird of prey is Admired all over Africa, mainly due to its striking looks and ability to deal with pests and snakes.
It even features the emblem of Sudan and the coat of arms for South Africa.