Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Secretary bird

Sagittarius serpentarius

Secretarisvogel

This species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN because recent evidence from across its range suggests that its population is experiencing a rapid decline, probably owing to habitat degradation, disturbance, hunting and capture for trade. Although the species occurs across a vast range, surveyed densities suggest that the total population size does not exceed a five-figure number.


The species inhabits grasslands, ranging from open plains to lightly wooded savanna, but is also found in agricultural areas and sub-desert (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It ranges from sea-level to 3,000 m. A variety of prey is consumed, primarily insects and rodents, but also other mammals, lizards, snakes, eggs, young birds and amphibians. Breeding occurs throughout the year and the species typically nests in a flat-topped Acacia or other thorny tree, where it constructs a flattened stick structure (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).


Although the species may benefit from deforestation, such positive effects may be outweighed by the negative impacts of spreading cultivation and urbanisation (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The excessive burning of grasslands may suppress populations of prey species, whilst the intensive grazing of livestock is also probably degrading otherwise suitable habitat (Baker et al. 2011). Disturbance by humans, probably most often herders, is likely to negatively affect breeding. The species is captured and traded in apparently small numbers; however, it is unknown how many die in captivity and transit. Direct hunting and nest-raiding for other uses and indiscriminate poisoning at waterholes are also potential threats. These human-induced threats may compound the effects of severe droughts in some areas (Baker et al. 2011).

 

More information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003562/0 

 

Sagittarius serpentarius

 

Sagittarius serpentarius

 

Sagittarius serpentarius

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