Two secretary bird chicks that hatched at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park earlier this summer are being hand-reared by animal care staff. The secretary bird species is native to Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, and is listed as a vulnerable population by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature because of recent evidence from across its range suggesting that its population is experiencing a rapid decline, probably owing to habitat degradation, disturbance, hunting and capture for trade. The secretary bird's English name was once thought to come from the 1800s when Europeans first spotted these birds, but it is now believed that the name is from the Arabic saqr-et-tair, or hunter bird. Secretary birds are distantly related to buzzards, vultures, harriers and kites; however, secretary birds spend most of their time on the ground hunting for their food on foot.
The chicks will grow to be about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.