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Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding


Wide and varied diet

  • Just about anything found on the ground
  • Grasshoppers, lizards, rats, squirrels, shrews, small rodents and birds, birds’ eggs, chameleons, snakes, and small tortoises


  • Kill prey by stamping to death, then swallow it whole after prey is completely immobile.
  • Class of prey: anything less than 500 grams. Most swallowed whole - rarely torn up and hidden
  • Sometimes swallow grass and small rocks, probably to aid digestion.
  • Undigestible material regurgitated as large pellet (up to 4 inches long and 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter) below roosting site.

Page Citations

Brown (1972)
Steyn (1982)
Tarboton (1990)

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