- a large, long-legged, raptorial bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, of Africa, that feeds on reptiles.
Origin of secretary bird
1790–1800; < French secrétaire, perhaps by folk etymology < Sudanese Arabic ṣagr al-ṭēr, equivalent to ṣagr hawk + al the + ṭēr birds (collective)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for secretary bird
"Yes—er—he's quite well again now—quite on his feet again," said the secretary-bird.
"So you see how it was," I said at last, dropping my voice as Weston, the secretary-bird passed.
- a large African long-legged diurnal bird of prey, Sagittarius serpentarius, having a crest and tail of long feathers and feeding chiefly on snakes: family Sagittariidae, order Falconiformes (hawks, falcons, etc)
C18: so called because its crest resembles a group of quill pens stuck behind the ear