secretary bird

(redirected from secretary birds)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

secretary bird

n.
A large African bird of prey (Sagittarius serpentarius) with long legs, gray and black plumage, and a crest of quills at the back of the head.

[Probably so called after its crest of quills, which reminded 18th-century observers of legal secretaries who stuck their quills into their wigs when not writing with them.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

secretary bird

n
(Animals) 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)
[C18: so called because its crest resembles a group of quill pens stuck behind the ear]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

sec′retary bird`


n.
a large, long-legged bird of prey, Sagittarius serpentarius, of Africa, that feeds on reptiles.
[1790–1800; < French secrétaire, perhaps by folk etym. < Sudanese Arabic ṣagr al-ṭēr]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.secretary bird - large long-legged African bird of prey that feeds on reptilessecretary bird - large long-legged African bird of prey that feeds on reptiles
bird of prey, raptor, raptorial bird - any of numerous carnivorous birds that hunt and kill other animals
genus Sagittarius, Sagittarius - type genus of the Sagittariidae
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations
References in periodicals archive ?
"The Big Book of Birds" draws in children and parents alike with captivating information about and charming illustrations of hummingbirds, peacocks, flamingos, bald eagles, secretary birds, puffins, red-crowned cranes, and more.
Over 150 different species of birdlife can be found at Imire, including raptors such as the snake eagle, martial eagle and African hawk eagle and water birds such as the fish eagle, green-backed heron, grey heron and kingfishers, plus secretary birds and saddle-billed storks.
and midnight on NATGEO) Mongooses, cheetahs, secretary birds, Mongolian wolves, foxes and polar bears are featured in the opener of this series following predatory creatures in the wild.
The choice of animals is also interesting, as I wouldn't have expected a section on chimpanzees in a book on predators, and I knew nothing about secretary birds (far scarier than their name suggests!).
The lazy secretary birds I SHOULD like to express my complete agreement with Mr John W Hendry's sentiments about the 'time-wasting secretary bird' and staff agencies that charge extortionate rates for mediocre full-time staff.