This species is classified as Vulnerable because recent evidence from across its range suggests that its population is experiencing a rapid decline, probably owing to habitat degradation, disturbance, hunting and capture for trade.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
The BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group is aware that phylogenetic analyses have been published which have proposed generic rearrangements which may affect this species, but prefers to wait until work by other taxonomists reveals how these changes affect the entire groups involved.
A very large and distinctive terrestrial raptor, which stands c.1.2 m tall (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is grey, whitish and black in all plumages, with small bill and head, bare face, relatively long neck, exceptionally long, bare legs, and long graduated tail with greatly elongated central rectrices. It has a distinctive crest of black-tipped spatulate feathers (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
Baker, N., Brouwer, J., Baker, L., Sinclair, T., Harebottle, D., Buij, R. 2011. The status of the Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius with special reference to Tanzania and declines across the continent. A preliminary report to the UK CITES Scientific Authority (Fauna).
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Further web sources of information
View photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Sagittarius serpentarius. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/12/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/12/2013.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Vulnerable|
|Family||Accipitridae (Osprey, kites, hawks and eagles)|
|Species name author||(Miller, 1779)|
|Population size||6700-67000 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||14,000,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- Climate change species distributions