Birdlife SA announces Bird of the Year 2019

Posted on 23 November 2018

Conservation group Birdlife South Africa has announced the secretary bird as the 2019 Bird of the Year.

The secretary bird lives in grasslands across Africa but is considered a vulnerable species, one on the Red List of Birds, as a result of encroachment on its habitat. Birdlife South Africa’s Terrestrial Bird Conservation Team, lead by Dr Melissa Whitecross, is working hard to understand and conserve this bird.


Facts about the secretary bird

– they are large terrestrial raptors related to hawks and eagles
– they are famous for the way they kill snakes with their talons
– the scales on their legs help to protect them from snake bites
– along with snakes, they consume insects, rodents and other small prey
– they build large nests of long, flat twigs and grass in Acacia trees that measure about 2m in diameter
– the secretary bird features on the South African coat of arms (as well as Sudan’s coat of arms)

Look out for more information and resources about the secretary bird at

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