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Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


  • Widespread south of the Sahara and across South Africa
  • High altitudes in Drakensberg to the semi-desert of Kalahari
    • Not found in forests or true desert (coastal Namibia)
  • Common, but numbers reduced by urban sprawl and agriculture (sugarcane, orchards)


  • Open woodland, savanna and steppe
  • Prefers short open grasslands with scattered Acacia thorn trees for roosting and nesting
  • Avoids areas which hinder its ability to walk or fly
    • Dense, tall grass cover makes walking about and flight difficult
    • Dense woodlands or hilly, rocky areas also make walking difficult

Distribution Map

Secretary Bird distribution

Secretary Bird distribution.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN)


Page Citations

Brown (1972)
Kemp (1994)
Steyn (1982)

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