These Birds Won’t Type Up Your Memos

Secretary Bird
Courtesy of the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is hand-raising a pair of secretary bird chicks that hatched there earlier this summer. The chicks, which are native to Africa, will grow to be a stately 3 feet tall and are distantly related to buzzards, harriers and kites. So while they are (sort of) cute, what you really want to know is: Why are they called secretary birds? Unfortunately, these fowl don’t have any skills pecking at the keyboard and won’t remind you to about your 4 P.M. conference call. Rather, it is believed that the bird’s name actually comes from the Arabic saqr-et-tair, or “hunter bird.” Which definitely makes a lot more sense.


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