This is a secretary bird at the San Diego Zoo. Why is it called that? One theory, promoted by the font of all knowledge, explains that the name derives from secretarius, which is what local farmers near the Cape of Good Hope called it. And why did they call it that? Perhaps Dutch settlers called it sagittarius and someone just misheard them. Another theory is that the name derives from the bird’s quill-like feathers, which “give the appearance of a secretary with quill pens tucked behind his/her ears.” Yet another theory is that the name derives from the Arabic saqr-et-tair, or “hunter bird.” Take your pick.
December 16, 2020