Trying to sneak up on two Secretary Birds (Sagiatarius serpentarius) out on a stroll in the grasslands is no easy task as they zig-zag at a steady pace and can cross valleys on the wing. But that is what you have to do if you have only a cell phone or small camera with you to take pictures with. Finding them is easier as they are harassed by others birds that give away their position – not that these majestic birds of prey pay any attention to that!
For a couple of years now a pair has been spotted on Mountainlands. Although they are widely distributed across Sub-Saharan Africa, Secretary Birds have been recognised as globally threatened with extinction and show a decreasing population trend. Several factors contribute to their threatened status, one of which is the disappearance of their preferred habitat – savanna and grassland. They hunt on foot and stomp on vegetation to flush out their prey, which can be anything from insects, small mammals and reptiles such as lizards and snakes. Luckily, large parts of Mountainlands Nature Reserve are grasslands and we are glad this offers a safe haven and happy hunting grounds for these long-legged raptors.