Elegance of ground raptor
Portrait of a Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) foraging across open savanna grassland. Secretary birds are easy to spot in open savannas: they are tall birds (as tall as 1.30m) with their long and slender legs, the top half of which are covered with black feathers which resemble leggings or bicycle shorts and with their quilt-like crest plumes which fan out above the back of their heads when birds poise to attack their prey. Secretary birds are the second largest terrestrial raptors (after caracaras) and can cover as much as 30 kms in a day to hunt for preys. As the bird’s scientific name implies (Sagittarius serpentarius meaning “the archer of snakes”), snakes are their favorite meal and the birds are built for the task with their short, hooked beaks, and large feet and sharp claws which the birds use to stomp reptiles to death (with a force 5 times their own body weight). Captured in Central Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.