Secretarybird (or snake-eating kite) is the only species of bird in the family Sagittariidae (scientific name Sagittarius serpentarius).
The scientific name of the genus “Sagittarius” comes from the Latin word for “archer”, probably from a comparison of the feathers of a snake-eating kite with an arrow-case, while the species designation “serpentarius” suggests remember this bird’s skill in hunting reptiles.
Snake-eating kites are large birds of prey endemic to Africa, often found on sparse grasslands and savannas. Snake-eating kites appear on the national emblems of Sudan and South Africa. They are often called Secretbirds because the tips of the feathers on their heads resembled the quills worn by secretaries in medieval Europe.
This bird has many special things to say, but the most special is the long, glossy eyelashes that make all women jealous.
With 10 years of experience in nature photography, photographer Brian Connolly is still impressed when it comes to snake-eating kites.
“They’re unique,” Brian told BP. “They hunt snakes on land with their dinosaur-like legs and claws.”
That’s not wrong at all. Despite its luxurious appearance, snake-eating kites can eat many living animals, especially terrestrial snakes.
Unlike most birds of prey, snake-eating kites spend most of their lives on land and kill their prey with their feet. According to biologists, they can travel more than 30km a day to hunt snakes, insects and many other animals.
The strength of the snake-eating kite lies mainly in its strong legs. They often trample their prey to death or jump to scare away enemies.
“Snake-eating kite photography is just as challenging as other wildlife,” says Brian. “They move very quickly and focusing is not easy.”
“Snake-eating kites have a friendly appearance, adults can be up to 1.35m tall, weigh 3.3kg with a wingspan of up to 2m.”
Admire some more pictures of this unique bird: