Park Wildlife
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SECRETARY BIRD

A LONG-LEGGED SAVANNA STALKER

Standing over four feet tall, secretary birds cruise through the tall grass on long legs while looking for a bite to eat. They prefer savannas and open grasslands where they can easily see while strolling. But can they fly? Of course! They may spend their days on the ground, but secretary birds are quite good fliers and nest and roost in acacia trees at night. In flight, their long legs trail behind them in the air. Native to Africa, they are found south of the Sahara Desert.

Secretary birds and caracaras are the only terrestrial birds of prey, hunting for their food on foot. They are well known for their ability to catch and kill snakes of all sorts, even venomous ones! These clever birds use two different hunting techniques: they catch prey by chasing it down and then they either strike it with their bill or stomp on it until the prey is dead or stunned enough for the bird to swallow. Secretary birds can't pick up food items with their feet, so food is either eaten right away or carried away in the beak.

Watch our secretary birds at work in the Park’s African Woods!

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, CA 92027-7017
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