The Secretarybird DSC_4933




This majestic bird walked away from me so could not get a frontal but looking at those beautiful feathers, its equally beautiful from behind.

The secretary bird is instantly recognizable as a very large bird with an eagle-like body on crane-like legs which increases the bird’s height to as much as 1.3 m (4.3 ft) tall. This bird has an eagle-like head with a hooked bill, but has rounded wings. Height can range from 90 to 137 cm (35 to 54 in). Total length from 112 to 152 cm (44 to 60 in) and the wingspan is 191–220 cm (75–87 in). Body mass can range from 2.3 to 5 kg (5.1 to 11.0 lb) with 20 birds from southern Africa found to weigh an average of 4.02 kg (8.9 lb). Other attempts to estimate the mean weight range for secretary birds correspondingly lie between 3.5 and 4.2 kg (7.7 and 9.3 lb). The tarsus of the secretary bird averages 31 cm (12 in) and the tail is 57–85 cm (22–33 in), both factor into making them both taller and longer than any other species of raptor since these features are not as long in any other living raptor. The neck is not especially long, and can only be lowered down to the inter-tarsal joint, so birds reaching down to the ground or drinking must stoop to do so.

From a distance or in flight it resembles a crane more than a bird of prey. The tail has two elongated central feathers that extend beyond the feet during flight, as well as long flat plumage creating a posterior crest. Secretary bird flight feathers and thighs are black, while most of the coverts are grey with some being white. It has a large wedge-shaped tail with alternating white and black banding at its ends. Sexes look similar to one another as the species exhibits very little sexual dimorphism, although the male has longer head plumes and tail feathers. Adults have a featherless red-orange face as opposed to the yellow facial skin of the young.

The Okavango Delta is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. Trapped in the parched Kalahari sands it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the permanent waters of this unique feature.

Sometimes called a ‘swamp’, the Okavango is anything but. Moving, mysterious, placid, gentle and beautiful, from a wide and winding channel it spreads through tiny, almost unnoticeable channels that creep away behind a wall of papyrus reed, into an ever expanding network of increasingly smaller passages.

These link a succession of lagoons, islands and islets of various sizes, open grasslands and flooded plains in a mosaic of land and water. Palms and towering trees abound, throwing their shade over crystal pools, forest glades and grassy knolls.

The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes are used to navigate past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos. However, the bird life in these regions are equally rich in diversity.

I took this photo while on my first Botswana Delta photo safari trip. April 2019.