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secretary bird

a large, long-legged, raptorial bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, of Africa, that feeds on reptiles.
Origin of secretary bird
Sudanese Arabic
1790-1800; < French secrétaire, perhaps by folk etymology < Sudanese Arabic ṣagr al-ṭēr, equivalent to ṣagr hawk + al the + ṭēr birds (collective) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for secretary bird
Historical Examples
  • I don't suppose he's gone in there to talk to the secretary bird!

  • A secretary bird stalking along looks as big as a man, and an ostrich attains the altitude of a church-steeple.

    The Young Yagers Mayne Reid
  • The reason the secretary bird is protected is because it is a bitter foe to snakes.

  • The introduction of the secretary bird into the Antilles proved to be a real benefit.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • Along the railway may be seen the secretary bird, guinea fowl and also handsome cranes.

  • This family comprehends but one single species, the secretary bird, which in its organisation seems allied to the Waders.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • We began to form the nucleus of our small menagerie while still at Walmer; and one of our first acquisitions was a secretary bird.

British Dictionary definitions for secretary bird

secretary bird

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)
Word Origin
C18: so called because its crest resembles a group of quill pens stuck behind the ear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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