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Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-10-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-11-22 7:34
Viewed: 4497
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Secretarybird / Sagittarius serpentarius

The Secretarybird is the 31st in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

We where very fortunate this year to come across a few of these birds in the time we spent in the Kruger National Park during our holiday. In previous years sightings of these slender and most elegant birds where very scarce. Whenever we did see them they would hastily head off to gain some space between them and us or we only saw them in the far distance. This time around we had the opportunity to capture some of them from quite close to us. I do however want to mention that they are very swift movers and one's reactions have to be quick in order to photograph them before they move too far away for a decent capture. It was once again an overcast day with limited light and you can see that there is basically no shadow from the raptor. It was photographed on the S100 near Satara.

General Overview
The name secretarybird might refer to the crest's resemblance to old-time quill pens, which a secretary often stuck behind his ear. On the other hand, it might be derived from the Arabic saqr et-tair, "hunter-bird". Sagittarius is Latin for "bowman" or "archer" (referring to its upright carriage), while serpentarius means "interested in snakes".

The secretarybird is the only raptor with very long legs, standing ±1.3m tall. It is one of the best known and most loved of all African veld birds because of its large size, regal appearance and reputation for killing snakes. In fact it very seldom eats snakes, though it can kill them easily when it encounters them. Its main food is insects and small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, rodents and birds. It will even eat bird eggs.

They stride in measured steps across the veld, occasionally in pairs, at a speed of about three kilometres per hour, stopping now and then to catch an insect or to kill a rodent, which they do by first immobilising it with their feet to kill and soften it up for swallowing whole. They treat snakes in the same way. Undigested parts (fur, bones, teeth, hard parts of insects) are regurgitated later as firm pellets.

Although they seldom fly they are outstanding fliers. They commonly run before take-off, flap strongly to gain lift, and then soar on thermals like storks or vultures. They can also take off from a standing position. On landing again, they run for several paces before folding their wings.

Breeding occurs in any month, but mostly from August to December in South Africa. A huge stick nest is built on top of a large bush and lined with grass, dung and regurgitated pellets. The 2 large white eggs (rarely 3) hatch after 42-46 days. The young fly at about 80-100 days. Rarely more than one chick is reared, as the smallest chick usually dies of starvation.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

marius-secan, Mamagolo2, Dis. Ac., Alex99, uleko, matatur, CatherineD, albert, bahadir, Pitoncle, paolo49, jusninasirun, Noisette, boreocypriensis, Argus, mkurtel, zulfu, tuslaw, Mikolaj, jaycee, ferranjlloret, cirano, Adanac, sranjan, Luis52, rousettus, CeltickRanger, maurydv, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-11-22 7:39]

Hello Anna
Very nice capture of this interesting and beautiful bird
Thanks for sharing

Fantastic capture Anna. This strange secretarybird definitely has a character. What a name and what a strange body!? Good dept of field fine colors and clarity! Bravo!
George Veltchev

hello Anna
great picture with good sharpness and very good details
nice light and beautiful colours
nice strange bird
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-11-22 8:47]

Yes, Anna, I enjoy this photo very much.
What a beauty in its natural environment. Good sharpness and natural colours. I've seen them a few times in Africa, but never so close. Once I saw them flying, high in the sky, a strange view.
Great DOF and POV.

Hello Anna,
Wonderful capture with exceptional clarity and very nice colours.
Razor sharp details and perfect focus. Splendid composition.

Stunning Anna, with beautiful colors and good sharpness. I love the natural colors of this bird. You were so fortunate to find it so close to the road. Normally we find them on the same road but too far for a really good shot. Very well done and thanks for sharing.

Hello anna,

this are an great detailed and sharp image with good low pov.
This are an beautiful bird but not aan brave on!.
He are walking like an king.
Well done.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-11-22 11:16]

Hi Anna.
I see you have mastered 3D photography perfectly. Simply stunning 3D-image of a wonderful bird. Terrific reproduction of all details and features of the bird. Framing of the bird is also excellent as well as timing. Bravo. Well done.

Ciao Anna, great capture of fantastic strange bird, fine details, wonderful natural colors and splendid sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2010-11-22 11:56]

Hi Anna,
...wow, what an unlikely looking bird, seemingly made up of the part of many different birds! Nice sharp image caught in an interresting pose, mid stride. That splash of red from the face really draws the eye. Interesting and well taken shot, great job.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-11-22 12:28]

Hello Anna,
This bird is amazing with its long legs and beautiful head-dress! Your well-timed capture shows great details and lovely colours. Excellent work!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hi Anna

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Just a brilliant shot of this amazing bird. We saw them 3 times, but not in Kruger, but I didn't get a decent shot. I was amazed how big they are and how fast they can walk. Fantastic shot, Satara was not very good for birds when we got there. Have a great week


Well, it looks like something from a Walt Disney cartoon Anna, colorful guy, no doubt, and your wonderfully detailed capture from its lateral aspect really demonstrates its salient features rather good. Thank you indeed my friend.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-11-22 14:38]

Hi Anna,every time a fantastic specie and a beautiful surprise from this incredible sanctuary of nature....and every time a top quality pic,impossible to make better.Your is a great contribution! Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano.

Hola Anna

Que agil y vivaracha se ve esta ave de colores compuestos muy bellos y raros al mismo tiempo. Buena composición, contrastes y nitidez.

Un saludo de Antonio

Hello Anna,
This bird looks so exotic for me! I never see it, even in a zoo. Very nice capture, with fantastic colours and impressive sharpness. Very dynamic shot. He seems to say something... Funny! Good night,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-11-23 2:27]

Hello Anna,
such an elegance name for an elegance bird. you too have produced an elegance shot of this sweet and pretty secretary.
never thought such a bird exist and it is so exciting to note. The colours and the headwear are really special.
Details and features are excellently documented.
very lovely presentation from your gallery.


Hello Anna,
Just a superb photo from this beautiful secretary bird coming so close to you

Hi Anna,
A very fine image of this beautiful secretary bird. It has lots of detail and great colors. Congrats on a fine capture,

Hello Anna, excellent shot of this cute faced bird with nice composition and details.
TFS and regards,

Bonjour Anna,
C'est magnifique !!! Ton Secretarybird est beaucoup plus beau que le mien !!!
Tout y est, la distance, l'attitude du sujet, la lumière, la profondeur de champ...
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Anna, fantastic image, light, colors and details very beautiful. Another nice picture. Best regards, Paolo

Hi Anna. Your upload are always so exciting to me my friend. I have never seen a bird with such long legs and small body before. The red face and details are so well rendered in beautiful framing. Great shot and a wonderful image for me and kind regards.

Hello Anna
i like the long pink legs, the small head and the funny tail of this beautiful bird,
and he is so well presented from the profil showing a lot of sharp details on the plumage, nice composition with natural environment
Have a good night

Nice sharp open shot of this bird, I usually see them walking in tall grass so I have never managed a shot of the complete bird. This is a really nice shot with excellent feather detail, well done

Good Morning Grandma:)

I really like the shallow DOF here. Your lovely Secretary bird is perfectly sharp and nicely separated from the background. Great in every way, but i especially loved the pose you caught. It seems a real secretary while walking with its long legs:)
TFS and have a nice day MF! Please forward my best regards to Grandpa!


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-11-23 23:28]

Hello Anna,
Not often we see a Secretary Bird on TN and this is a great capture of one.
The POV shows its features with excellent sharpness and colours, the striking long legs, the 'secretary feathers' of the head and the reddish face being well seen in a fine striding pose.
Thankd for sharing this delight,
Kind regards,

Hello Anna,
A very nice capture of this beautiful Secretarybird, Good sharp details and a lovely composition.
Thanks a lot for sharing.Regards,

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-11-25 5:11]

Hello Anna, Splendid and great timely shot. Pose, colours, details and composition are excellent.
TFS ang G's,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-11-25 10:18]

Hello Anna,
The first thing you notice about this interesting bird is that it's legs seem to be too long for it's body. I must admit I have never heard of this particular bird before, so therefore your photo allows me to get a great look at it.
Exceptional detail and great exposure during this overcast day. I love the coloring around it's eyes and the little head feathers. Well done!!

Hi Anna,This is a great image.TFS

  • Great 
  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2010-11-25 22:43]

Hellow Anna,
For the first time I realised the legs of the secretary bird are pinkish. Only seen it once at iMfolozi but in thick grass.This is a beautiful clear image with good subject colour saturation.
Regards to all,

Hello Anna! Amazing shot. Wonderful scene and scenery. Superb lightness and colours. Good sharp. Interesting note. Well done!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-11-26 16:16]

Hi Anna,

Beautiful capture of this amazing looking bird. He is quite a fashion plate with those pink legs, fascinating hair do and striking face. You had an excellent view and show him off in perfect detail and fantastic color. This is the first time I am seeing a Secretary Bird and I thank you for the introduction.


Hi Anna,
Excellent capture of this Secretarybird, good sharpness and colors.
TFS & have a nice WE Ferran

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2010-11-27 14:51]

Hello Anna,
this is very beautiful capture of a beuatiful bird,excellent sharpness,colors and great POV.TFS.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-11-28 13:15]

Hello Anna,
As always you have presented us with an excellent posting, you teach us so much about the great variety of creatures in your part of the world. Fantastic job Anna, thank you.

Hallo Anna,
Great elegant majestic bird with unique pose & grand composition. You have cropped it well and could get POV to shoot its perfect details. TFS
Regards: Subhash

"I need a temporary secretary!" Song by Paul McCartney is the first thing I thought of when I saw your cool image of the secretary bird, which is a really nice capture showing those long legs. I don't know about sexy though. I'm guessing the person that discovered and named that bird had a really good looking secretary with long legs working for them at the time. Here is a link to that horrendous sounding song, don't get me wrong I think Paul McCartney is very talented, it's just that particular song that freaks me out everytime I hear it, which is not too often, thank goodness.

Click for Song

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-12-02 15:44]

Hola Anna.
Muy interesante la foto que aqui nos muestras, pues la pose es muy elegente, y esta hermosa ave luce de maravilla todos sus atributos, pareciera que esta pasando por la pasarela con un vestido de ultima moda.
Felucidades Anna. Tus fotos son todas muy hermosas.

Olá Anna, exelente foto com nitidez e cores de tirar o chapéu,uma belissina imagem com composição muito boa parabéns.

Hola Anna,
hace pocos momentos acabo de comentar también la foto de tu compatriota George.
A pesar de que son dos aves diferentes y desde diferente ángulo de disparo poseen
ambas rasgos comunes en cuanto a la captación de la luz y los colores.
Un buen encuadre además para este excelente trabajo.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi.

Hello Anna
what a nice capture of famous Secretarybird of Africa, with great focus, exposure and white balance. POV and composition also great. features on head like-pens of a secretar show very beautiful. also it is pretty with long legs and orange face mask. thanks for showing us this beautiful bird and its great show with good informative notes. best regards

hello Anna

excellent close-up photo of this bird that in
French they say serpentaire, fine POV
and appropriate framing, you shooted
the photo of the bird's best pose, TFS


Hallo Anna,
another superb capture from your series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, very good sharpness, very beautiful natural colours in a very pleasant composition with a lovely pose of this "elegant" bird.
Best regards

Hi Anna,

The point of view is showing with precision the details and colors of the Secretarybird. It is well placed in the frame. The afternoon light is bringing out the colors. Have a nice day.


Granger and beauty. very well composed picture with all good quality.
best wishes.

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