AVES IN GUERRA - SERPENTÁRIO vs COBRA, ÁGUIA, COELHO
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The secretary or Serpentarium (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a daytime bird of prey, the only species of the Sagittariidae family. Its name is traditionally due to the plumage of the head, which resembles the feathers used in ancient times to write, but it is a bad translation of the Arabic Saqr-et-Taira which means bird hunter. The secretary lives in all regions of Africa south of the Sahara, except areas of dense vegetation. Its preferential habitat is the savannah, being also common in semidesérticas areas or with sparse vegetation.
The secretary is a large bird, approaching 1,5 m in height and about 5 meters in wingspan. Females are slightly smaller than males, but the species does not exhibit significant sexual dimorphism. The plumage is gray with the tail, wing tips and black thighs. The head is small, with orange faces, and ends in a short, curved beak typical of birds of prey. In the back of the head the secretary presents a characteristic crest of black feathers. The secretary's paws are very long and end in sharp claws.
The secretary usually lives as a couple, sometimes in groups of 3 to 4 birds. This bird mainly locates on land, walking at about 3 km / h, but is an excellent flyer who prefers to glide in upward currents like vultures. Its feeding is mainly based on snakes, and can also consume rodents and amphibians. The secretary kills the prey with pins, less often does this with the beak, which uses only to dominate small animals.
The breeding season will, depending on its geographical distribution, from August to December. The couple builds a platform-like nest, black with about 1.5 m in diameter, on top of tall trees or shrubs. The building is usually reused by the couple from year to year. Each entry contains a mean two elongated, blueish-gray eggs, which are incubated by the female for 40-46 days. During this period, the female does not leave the nest and is fed by her partner. The puppies remain in the nest for about two months and are cared for by both parents. At three months they are already independent.
The secretary is not in danger of extinction but it is not very common to find them due in large part to its low population density. The oldest fossils of this bird were found in France, in geological formations of the Miocene.
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