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Secretary Birds

 
Secretary Birds


What happened?
On Friday, May 26, 2017, two Secretary birds left their behind-the-scenes habitat. An exit gate had not been tightly secured and strong winds on Thursday evening blew it open. Upon this discovery, a large crew of keepers and Zoo staff immediately began searching the neighboring area for the two birds. They were able to keep an eye on the two birds for some time, but unfortunately were not able to get the birds back to their habitat. This type of bird can fly, which makes their recovery very difficult.

Tell me more about Secretary birds.
Secretary birds are native to Africa, typically south of the Sahara desert, and prefer open grasslands and savannas, which are most suitable for finding food. They do not migrate, but may follow food sources. They usually stand more than four feet tall, with long legs, and have a series of distinctive, dark quill-like feathers on the back of their heads. Their plumage is pale grey above and white below, with the black abdomen and thighs standing out. Although they can fly, they prefer to be on the ground, as they are very skilled at hunting snakes, insects, rodents, and amphibians. Secretary birds are terrestrial birds of prey, meaning they hunt for their prey while on the ground. They are noted for their exceptionally long legs -- in fact they have the longest legs of any bird of prey. They can travel up to 20 miles in a day.

How long have these birds been at the North Carolina Zoo and how long can they live?
The male bird is about 12 years old and arrived at the North Carolina Zoo in June 2013. The female is 4 years old and arrived here in June 2014. Secretary birds can live 10 to 15 years in the wild, and up to 19 years in human care. The birds have been together at the North Carolina Zoo for three years. The female is still considered young for breeding, and because of her age they may not have formed a strong pair bond yet.

Are the birds together right now?

The birds have not been seen together for some time, so we are unsure if they are traveling together.

Where do they roost?
Secretary birds roost in trees at night in the wild, due to the risk of predation in Africa. We are unsure if these particular birds would engage in this same behavior.

Are the birds dangerous to humans or small pets?
The birds are no threat to people, zoo animals, pets or farm animals. They will actually avoid people.

Are Secretary birds endangered in the wild?
No, they are not endangered.

What is the North Carolina Zoo doing to get the birds back?
The North Carolina Zoo contracted with a USDA Wildlife Services biologist who is an expert in catching wild mammals and birds and has also consulted with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. To date the recovery efforts have not been successful so the Zoo ended the contract with USDA Wildlife Services. A Hotline (336.879.7610) has been established for the general public to call if they have seen the birds. The Zoo will continue to monitor the Hotline daily and respond to all sightings that sound feasible.

Why don’t I see the birds listed on the Zoo map?
These birds are in a behind-the-scenes habitat and not visible to guests.

Are the birds okay?
The birds have been observed eating, and are in good condition. Both birds appear to be doing well and are healthy.

Are the birds adapting?
They seem to be adapting well to the rural fields of North Carolina, often seen foraging for food and eating. They eat amphibians, snakes, rodents and large insects.

Why not just let them be?
The birds are more likely to live a long, healthy life at the Zoo with our excellent facilities and highly trained staff.

How can I identify the Secretary Bird?

From several of the Hotline reports, we know that people have been confusing Great Blue Herons with the Secretary bird. Use this comparison chart to see the distinct differences between these two long-legged birds. Secretary birds have a short, eagle-like beak and vivid red-orange markings on their face.

What can I do to help?

If you see these distinctive birds, try to get a photo of the bird so that our experts can confirm the sighting. Please do not approach the bird(s) and immediately call our Hotline 336.879.7610 to report a sighting. Sightings from the general public are crucial to helping the Zoo team track the movement of the birds over such a large area. We thank you for your help!



Secretary Birds


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Exhibit Interpreter

Face Painting and Caricatures

NEW Dino Bus

Pick the Right Membership for You

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The Desert Plant Guide

Tickets

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DINO ISLAND 4-D

Holiday Visit Tips

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Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Animal Care Volunteers

Zoo Snooze

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Keep Your Pets Cool

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Vultures of Southern Tanzania

What is Under Renovation

Zoo Host Volunteer

Acacia Station Giraffe Deck

Birthday Parties

Giraffe Deck Volunteers

Guest Services Receptionists

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kidZone

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U.N.I.T.E. Conservation Education

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About Nature Rocks

About Society

About the Area

About Unite

About Us

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African Elephant

African Gates

African Lion

African Nutmeg

African Pygmy Goose

African Savanna

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Air Hike Ropes Course

Akiba Market Popup (copy)

Alive Magazine

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Amazon Lily

American Alligator

Amethyst Starling

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Animal Encounters

Ant Bear

Arabian Coffee

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Arctic Turns

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Arizona Yellowbells

Art in the Park

Ask for Help

Audio

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Backyard Play Activities

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Bali Mynah

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Become a Corporate Member

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Bison Coloring Contest

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Blue-grey Tanager

Blue-winged Leafbird

Bobcat

Bongo

Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative

Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative

Boojum Tree

Bowling for Rhinos

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Brazilian Grape Tree

Breadfruit

Bringing African Gorilla Researchers Together

Bringing Wildlife Research into the Classroom

Brittlebush

Bromeliads

Cami Bunting

Cape Porcupine

Cardinal’S Guard

Career Benefits

Career Openings

Careers

Catamount

Catering

Cattail Gate

Cell Phone Recycling

Chilean Flamingo

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee Troupe

Chocolate flower

Chocolate Tree Or Cacao

Claretcup hedgehog

Coloring Pages

Common Banana

Common Screw Pine

Common Shama Thrush

Common Waterbuck

Composting

Conservation Awards

Conservation Captains

Contact Us

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Copperhead

Coral Tree

Corporate Levels and Benefits

Corporate Membership List

Cougar

Cow Horn Agave

Crane Conservation

Crane Conservation

Creeping Devil

Creosote

Crested Coua

Crested Golden Barrel

Crested Wood Partridge

Crimson Monkey Flower

Curry Leaf

Debbie Zombeck

Denise Rogers

Desert Broom

Desert Globe Mallow

Desert Honeysuckle

Desert Pupfish

Desert Spoon

Desert Tortoise

Diamond Cholla

Diane Villa

Dogweed

Dr. Beth Folta

Dr. Jb Minter

Dr. Katie Delk

Dr. Rich Bergl

Dr. Steven Amstrup Visit

Dustin Smith

Dwarf Ylang Ylang

Eastern Cottonmouth

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eclectus Parrot

Educator Resources

Edventures at the Zoo

Elephant Rubbing Tree

Elephant Tracking Game

Elephant Tree

Elephants Art

Elk

Emerald Starling

Endangered Monkeys of Bioko

Endangered Species Poster

Energy Management

Environmental Management System

Environmental Policy

Environmental Stewardship Initiative

Epiphytes

Fairy Bluebird

Fairy Duster

False Peyote

Family Nature Club

Family Nature Club

Feather Bush

Field Sketching Panels

Fire Barrel

Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Fishtail Palm

Follow the Pollen Path

Food

Fourwing Saltbush

Frangipani

Franklin Tree

Franklin Tree

French Beans

Frequently Asked Questions

Fringed Ear Oryx

FUN PASS

FYI/Tour the Zoo

Ganesia

Garden Friends

Giant Spiral Ginger

Gift Cards

Gift Cards

Gift Shops

Gila Monster

Giraffe

GiraffesArt

Globe Berry

Golden Fleece Rattlesnake Plant

Golden- crested Mynah

Goldenseal

Goldenseal

Grahams Nipple Cactus

Greater Kudu

Green Pitcherplant

Green Pitcherplant

Green Woodhoopoe

Grizzly Bear

Group Programs

Groups

Guava

Guiana Chestnut

Guy Lichty

Hamadryas Baboon

Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal Sculpture

Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

Hippo Pod

Hoary Yucca

Honey Bee Garden

How to Apply

Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbird Trumpet

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Indigo Bush

Individual and Family Member Benefits

Infant Care

Instagram

Jennifer Ireland

Jody Stancil

Jojoba

Joshua Tree

Juanita Spalding’s Habitat Fund

Jumping Cholla

Junction Springs Art

Kapok Tree

Karen Jarvis

Keeper-led Programs

Lady Palm

Large Witch-alder

Large Witch-alder

Lignum Vitae

Lioness & Cubs

Lisa’s Dragonfly

Lobelia

Lobster Claw

Lollypop Plant

Macadamia Nut Tree

Mandarin Duck

Margaret J. Nichols Piedmont Longleaf Pine Preserve

Mary Joan Pugh

Masked Lapwing

Mbashiri

Media Contact Info

Media Library

Meet and Feed Animals

Mescal Agave

Mescal Bean

Mexican Boulder

Michaux’s Sumac

Michaux’s Sumac

Michaux’s Sumac

Military Discount

Mobile Bat Detector

Monarch Waystation

Monitoring Predators on NC Zoo Grounds

Mormon Tea

Mousebirds

Murmuration

Murphey Agave

Nature Rocks Hikes

Nature Rocks Preschool & Kindergarten Summer Day Camps

Nature Rocks Preschool & Kindergarten Summer Day Camps

Nature Rocks Preschool & Kindergarten Summer Day Camps

Nature Rocks Sign up Form

Nature’s Recyclers

NC Zoo is Going Greener

NC Zoo, Inside Out video

News Archive

News Feed

Nicobar Pigeon

Nile Lechwe

North Carolina Zoo Logos

Ocelot

Oconee Bells

Oconee Bells

Ocotillo

Ola, The Water Bearer

Orange Sherbet Ixora

Orchids

Organ Pipe

Ostrich

Ostrich

Ostrich Egg Interactive

Ostrich Recovery Project

Ostrich Recovery Project

Our Impact

Our Partners

Our Team

Our Work

Pacaya Palm

Pachycereus

Panama Golden Poison Dart Frog

Panama Rose Bush Pentas

Papaya

Paper Flower

Paperflower

Paradise Tanager

Park Transportation

Parking

Partner Zoos and Aquariums

Passages to the Continents

Patricia Simmons

Pekin Robin

Peregrine Falcon

Photos

Picnic Rentals

Picnicking

Piedmont Totem

Pineapple

Pink Shell Ginger

Playful Pedagogy

Playground

Playing Out Workshops

Plumbago

Pocket Change for Rainforest Conservation

Pocket Change for Rainforest Conservation

Pokemon GO at NC Zoo

Polar Bear

Polar Bear Art

Polar Bear Conservation

Polar Bear Conservation

Porcupine Hedgehog

Powderpuff

Prairie Geyser

Preening Heron

Press Releases

Prickly Pear

Protecting Endangered Pacific Birds

Protecting Endangered Pacific Birds

Purchasing "Green" Goods

Purple Glossy Starling

Purple Prickly Pear

Purple Threeawn

Queen Agave

Queen Sago Palm

Rare Plants at the Zoo

Recycling

Red Ginger

Red River Hogs

Red Wolf

Red-capped Cardinal

Red-ruffed Lemur

Renewal

Resouces for Grades 9-12

Resources for Grades 3-5

Resources for Grades 6-8

Resources for Grades K-2

Ridges Mountain

Ring-tailed Lemur

Ringed Teal

River Cooter

River Frolic

River Otter

Rock Hyrax

Rose Apple

Rothschild’s Giraffe Project

Rothschild’s Giraffe Project

Rubber Tree

Saguaro

Sand Cat

Sapodilla

Satinwood

Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet-faced Liocichla

School Lunch Menu

Schweinitz's Sunflowers

Schweinitz’s Sunflower

Schweinitz’s Sunflower

Scout Leader Hints

Sea Lion

Seabirds

Seasonal Jobs- In Park

Secretary Birds

See the Animals

Selma Cornelison Ward Nature Preserve

Senita

Shooting Star

Shrimp Plant

Sidewinder

Singapore Gold Shampoo Ginger

Sitatunga

Smooth Coneflower

Smooth Coneflower

Snakewood Tree

Snapdragon Vine

Society 990s

Society Annual Reports

Society Board of Directors

Society Independent Audits

Society Mission

Society Privacy Policy

Society Staff

Society Timeline

Solar Pointe Pavilions

Solid Waste Reduction

Sonoran Snake

Southern Maidenhair Fern

Southern White Rhino

Special Needs

Special Wildlife Rehab Adopt - Turtle

Spiral Flag

Staghorn Fern

Stalking Little Blue Heron

Stilt-Root Palm

Stone that Stands in an Empty Sky

Stories from Our Campers

Streamlines

Sunbittern

Sustainablility Education

Sweet Pitcherplant

Sweet Pitcherplant

Taking Action

Teacher & Professional Development

Teddybear Cholla

Test Deletion

The Bird Garden

The Critics

The Lion’s Pride

The Prairie Geyser

The Prairie Geyser

Thompson's Yucca

Thomson’s Gazelle

Tillandsia

Tools for Monitoring Carnivores

Tools for Monitoring Carnivores

Totem Pole Cactus

Travel

Travel

Turks Head

Turnip Fern

Turpentine Bush

Turpentine Tree

Two-toed Amphiuma

Utah Agave

Uwharrie Vision

Vampire Bat

Vanilla Orchid

Velvet Mesquite

Venus Flytrap

Venus Flytrap

Vets Advancing Animal Care

Victoria-crowned Pigeon

Videos

VIP Tours

VIP Tours

Visitor Needs

Volunteer

Volunteer Login

Watani Cooling Station

Water Usage

Ways to Join

Weeping Fig

West Indian Mahogany

Western Lowland Gorilla

Wetlands

What to Bring

Wheelchair and Stroller Rental

White Rhino Art

White-faced Whistling Duck

Whitethorn Acacia

Why Bear Why?

Why Join

Wild Welfare

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Wolfberry

Worker Bee

Wrights Bee Brush

Yellow Rat Snake

Yellow-banded dart frog (bumblebee frog)

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Zebra

Zoo Rules

Zoo School

Zoo To You

Zoo to You Pre-School Programs

Zoological Egg Rest

Secretary Birds


Camps

Camps

Camps

Cross River Gorillas

Cross River Gorillas

Dragonfly Paddle Boats

Exhibit Interpreter

Face Painting and Caricatures

NEW Dino Bus

Pick the Right Membership for You

Rare Plant Guide and Map

The Desert Plant Guide

Tickets

Zoofari

Aviary Bird Guide

DINO ISLAND 4-D

Holiday Visit Tips

Tracking Elephants from Space

Tracking Elephants from Space

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Animal Care Volunteers

Zoo Snooze

Carousel

Keep Your Pets Cool

Scout Badge Programs

Vultures of Southern Tanzania

What is Under Renovation

Zoo Host Volunteer

Acacia Station Giraffe Deck

Birthday Parties

Giraffe Deck Volunteers

Guest Services Receptionists

Hellbender Salamander

Hellbender Salamander

Zoo to you Edventures

Gardening

Home School

Home School

kidZone

kidZone

Red Wolves of the Alligator River

Red Wolves of the Alligator River

Library

Play Pals

SMART Conservation and Ranger Training

Special Event Volunteer

U.N.I.T.E. Conservation Education

U.N.I.T.E. Conservation Education

Chimpanzee Conservation

Chimpanzee Conservation

Interns

Interns

Group Projects

2016 Collector Ornament

About Nature Rocks

About Society

About the Area

About Unite

About Us

Acres for the Atmosphere

Addra Gazelle

Adopt an Animal

Africa Bridge Art

African Elephant

African Gates

African Lion

African Nutmeg

African Pygmy Goose

African Savanna

Agama Lizard

Air Hike Ropes Course

Akiba Market Popup (copy)

Alive Magazine

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Amazon Lily

American Alligator

Amethyst Starling

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Animal Encounters

Ant Bear

Arabian Coffee

Arctic Fox

Arctic Fox Art

Arctic Turns

Areca Palm

Arizona Agave

Arizona Yellowbells

Art in the Park

Ask for Help

Audio

Australian Tree Fern

Backyard Play Activities

Baja Fairy Duster

Bald Eagle with Salmon

Bali Mynah

Ball Python

Ball Python Adopt

Banana Yucca

Banyan Tree

Barred Owl

Barrel Cactus

Bear and Shaman

Become a Corporate Member

Bee Skep

Billy Goats Gruff

Birds in the Aviary

Bison

Bison Coloring Contest

Black Bear

Black Dog

Black Pepper

Black Sapote

Blue Bear Grass

Blue Ginger

Blue Palo Verde

Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot:

Blue-grey Tanager

Blue-winged Leafbird

Bobcat

Bongo

Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative

Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative

Boojum Tree

Bowling for Rhinos

Bowling for Rhinos

Brazilian Grape Tree

Breadfruit

Bringing African Gorilla Researchers Together

Bringing Wildlife Research into the Classroom

Brittlebush

Bromeliads

Cami Bunting

Cape Porcupine

Cardinal’S Guard

Career Benefits

Career Openings

Careers

Catamount

Catering

Cattail Gate

Cell Phone Recycling

Chilean Flamingo

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee Troupe

Chocolate flower

Chocolate Tree Or Cacao

Claretcup hedgehog

Coloring Pages

Common Banana

Common Screw Pine

Common Shama Thrush

Common Waterbuck

Composting

Conservation Awards

Conservation Captains

Contact Us

Contact Us

Copperhead

Coral Tree

Corporate Levels and Benefits

Corporate Membership List

Cougar

Cow Horn Agave

Crane Conservation

Crane Conservation

Creeping Devil

Creosote

Crested Coua

Crested Golden Barrel

Crested Wood Partridge

Crimson Monkey Flower

Curry Leaf

Debbie Zombeck

Denise Rogers

Desert Broom

Desert Globe Mallow

Desert Honeysuckle

Desert Pupfish

Desert Spoon

Desert Tortoise

Diamond Cholla

Diane Villa

Dogweed

Dr. Beth Folta

Dr. Jb Minter

Dr. Katie Delk

Dr. Rich Bergl

Dr. Steven Amstrup Visit

Dustin Smith

Dwarf Ylang Ylang

Eastern Cottonmouth

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eclectus Parrot

Educator Resources

Edventures at the Zoo

Elephant Rubbing Tree

Elephant Tracking Game

Elephant Tree

Elephants Art

Elk

Emerald Starling

Endangered Monkeys of Bioko

Endangered Species Poster

Energy Management

Environmental Management System

Environmental Policy

Environmental Stewardship Initiative

Epiphytes

Fairy Bluebird

Fairy Duster

False Peyote

Family Nature Club

Family Nature Club

Feather Bush

Field Sketching Panels

Fire Barrel

Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Fishtail Palm

Follow the Pollen Path

Food

Fourwing Saltbush

Frangipani

Franklin Tree

Franklin Tree

French Beans

Frequently Asked Questions

Fringed Ear Oryx

FUN PASS

FYI/Tour the Zoo

Ganesia

Garden Friends

Giant Spiral Ginger

Gift Cards

Gift Cards

Gift Shops

Gila Monster

Giraffe

GiraffesArt

Globe Berry

Golden Fleece Rattlesnake Plant

Golden- crested Mynah

Goldenseal

Goldenseal

Grahams Nipple Cactus

Greater Kudu

Green Pitcherplant

Green Pitcherplant

Green Woodhoopoe

Grizzly Bear

Group Programs

Groups

Guava

Guiana Chestnut

Guy Lichty

Hamadryas Baboon

Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal Sculpture

Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

Hippo Pod

Hoary Yucca

Honey Bee Garden

How to Apply

Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbird Trumpet

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Improving the Lives of Captive Animals

Indigo Bush

Individual and Family Member Benefits

Infant Care

Instagram

Jennifer Ireland

Jody Stancil

Jojoba

Joshua Tree

Juanita Spalding’s Habitat Fund

Jumping Cholla

Junction Springs Art

Kapok Tree

Karen Jarvis

Keeper-led Programs

Lady Palm

Large Witch-alder

Large Witch-alder

Lignum Vitae

Lioness & Cubs

Lisa’s Dragonfly

Lobelia

Lobster Claw

Lollypop Plant

Macadamia Nut Tree

Mandarin Duck

Margaret J. Nichols Piedmont Longleaf Pine Preserve

Mary Joan Pugh

Masked Lapwing

Mbashiri

Media Contact Info

Media Library

Meet and Feed Animals

Mescal Agave

Mescal Bean

Mexican Boulder

Michaux’s Sumac

Michaux’s Sumac

Michaux’s Sumac

Military Discount