The secretary bird is an unusual bird of prey which inhabits the grasslands of Africa. This bird is quite different in many ways. For one example, it’s appearance. Its wing tips, tail, and legs are all black, and its chest is white, leaving it’s back a pale grey. On contrast to all this, it has a bright red-orange featherless face and long black feathers sticking up from the back of it’s head, looking like 2.5 cm long eyelashes. The biggest disfigurement, though, are its long, thin legs which are extrememly tall compared to the size of it’s body. It might give you the impression of a chicken on stilts!

Although this bird is not flightless, it usually runs around looking for food instead of flying. It may walk up to 20 miles a day searching for prey such as rats and tortoises. When it finds food, it kills it by literally kicking it to death. The secretary bird is also known for spearing snakes with the talon on its back toe, and tough scales on its feet and legs make it immune to snake bites.

These birds are famous for the spectacular dance the male does when trying to attract a mate. It is said to be amazing to watch the dives and turns the male performs as he flies. After the male attracts a mate, they make a nest on top of a flat topped tree, and the female lays one to two eggs. The two parents take turns guarding the nest and seaching for food.

Finally, the odd name of « secretary bird » was used because the black feathers in the back of the birds' head not only look like eyelashes, but pens sticking out like a secretary might put a pen behind his ear. The name is actually a mispronunciation of the bird’s Arabic name which means « hawk bird ».

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