Secretary birds have the most distinct face color of all African birds of prey. Their speciality is hunting for snakes and other small prey while walking.

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Unlike most birds of prey, the Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is hunting its prey on foot, usually in pairs, stalking through the habitat with long strides.

Their prey consists of reptiles, insects, small mammals, birds and the occasional carrion.

They are well known for their ability to catch and kill snakes, even venomous ones!

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Bird of the Day – Secretary Bird

One of my favorite birds of prey: The Secretary Bird. This picture was taken at Etosha National Park in Namibia.

To view more of my Secretary Bird images go to

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The Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a very large bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannah of the sub-Saharan region.

Unlike most birds of prey, the Secretary Bird is largely terrestrial, hunting its prey on foot. Adults hunt in pairs and sometimes as loose familial flocks, stalking through the habitat with long strides. Prey may consist of insects, small mammals, lizards, snakes, young birds, bird eggs, and sometimes also dead animals. The importance of snakes in the diet may have been exaggerated in the past, although they can be locally important and venomous species such as adders and cobras are regularly among the types of snake preyed upon.

It appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa.

Coat_of_Arms_of_South_Africa  coatofarms_sudan

A very lucky day!

This morning’s game drive on Ithala was excellent.

First I saw a lot of Baboons on a newly burned area …

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… the I got some great shots of a Secretary Bird …

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… and finally I found a small breeding herd of Elephants near one of the waterholes …

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… and as per Ithala rule I kept my distance (over 30 meters from the herd). But one cow did not like me looking at all and chased me down the road. She was quite serious in her attack (ears back, trunk rolled up, so sound and fast takeoff). While driving with my left hand and watching her in the mirror I took a picture with my point and shoot camera out of the window at 40 kph…

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An exciting morning at Ithala. I will be back!

Rare Sightings!

Sorry for not blogging for a few days. I was very busy guiding and teaching photography. Now I am off work for seven days 🙂

So, I thought I share a few recent and very Thanda special sightings with you.

We spotted a small Serval on the fence to our base camp. This was my first Serval sighting at Thanda …

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… our dominant male Lion got quite a fright when he almost stepped on this Puff Adder in the dark. The snake gave him a warning hiss and continued on its path …

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.. and another first for me was a Secretary Bird hunting on our savanna …

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… and last but not least two of my favorite Rhino images from the last two weeks. A Rhino illuminated with red light walking at moonlight and …

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… a Rhino having a mud bath – pure bliss!

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