Honestly, we would have loved to cover everything about the Secretarybird in a single article but, that would make it very long. So, smaller articles covering specific aspects of the bird make more sense and easy to grasp. Thus, this article will focus only on its Adaptations, Reproduction and Communication through a list of 20 Secretarybird weird facts. We are sure you will find them really weird. Let’s start…
Secretarybird Weird Facts: 1-5 | Adaptations
1. The Secretarybird is very unique and so are its adaptations. For example, the bird’s digestive tract is very short compared to other birds that are as large as itself. The reason is that the meat it swallows is quickly digested within its quickly digested inside its foregut. So, the need for physical breakdown of the food inside the digestive system is unnecessary
2. The bird isn’t herbivore and hence, plant material doesn’t enter its digestive system. As a result, fermentative digestion is not at all needed. This explains why cecum is absent in its large intestine.
3. The long legs of the bird are also specifically designed to aid it in the hunting process. The long legs help the bird in delivering deadly kicks.
4. The bird is known for eating poisonous snakes. To protect the bird from poisons, its feet’s lower portions have scaly protection. The scales prevent the snake fangs from entering the skin and the venom is nullified.
5. The legs are also adapted to walk over long distances and the long claws also add to the danger for the preys because they are also strong and sharp enough to stun or kill prey.
Secretarybird Weird Facts: 6-10 | Adaptations
6. The long legs are also designed to keep the bird entirely above the grass and vegetation level so that it can stop potential prey.
7. The adaptations of the leg along with its short neck comes with a cost. The shape of the bird forces the bird to bend or crouch while drinking water, making the bird vulnerable.
8. The long legs however are very sturdy and gives the bird the ability to run very fast when under duress. The bird will usually run away in case of threat and after a take-off run, the bird will fly off.
9. Yet another adaptation is that the bird has hollow feathers on its wings. When it hunts poisonous snakes, it spreads out its wings and the snakes often try to bite the feathers. The hollow feathers save the bird from being hurt by snake poison.
10. The feet and claws of the Secretarybird aren’t designed to grasp things properly. This is why, they will usually either immediately eat the prey or the bird will carry the prey back to its nest by catching it between its beaks.
Secretarybird Weird Facts: 11-15 | Reproduction
11. There is no specific breeding season for Secretary Birds. They breed throughout the year. It all starts with courtship, which is heavily dependent on food availability.
12. During courtship, the male and the female will fly high in sky and fly in wide circles. They will sometimes plunge downwards and sometimes, perform swoops and while they do so, they will often clasp their talons right when they are flying.
13. These birds are monogamous. This means they will select one partner and will stay with him/her until death parts them.
14. While the courtship usually takes place in air, it is not unusual to perform courtship on treetops. Mating however takes place mostly on land but also on treetops.
15. The couple will usually build a nest on acacia treetops, which have flat tops. It is a thorny tree. Absence of acacia trees may force them to build nests on exotic and non-thorny trees. The nests are built using twigs and sticks.
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Secretarybird Weird Facts: 16-20 | Reproduction
16. The couple together builds the nest which is 8 feet across and has the shape of a saucer. The nest can be up to 30 centimeters deep.
17. The female will lay up to 3 eggs in a span of 2-3 days. Both the male and female will incubate the eggs for a period of 42 days to 46 days.
18. The newborn chicks will take up to 6 weeks for standing on their feet while it will take around 7 weeks since birth for the feathers to appear.
19. Both the parents are responsible for feeding the chicks. They will bring food to the chicks. Usually the parents will regurgitate the liquefied food and feed it to the chicks.
20. Though the birds involve in breeding throughout the year, they do have a high or peak season for breeding. That season is between August and March. In the years immediately following a good rainfall, the birds will raise up to 3 broods per year.