Rare secretary bird chick hatches at San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo/Cover Images

An adorable rare secretary bird chick has hatched at San Antonio Zoo, marking the first birth of this endangered species at the zoo in over 15 years.

The arrival of this chick is cause for excitement and optimism regarding the future of this magnificent species. The secretary bird is one of the two terrestrial birds of prey, with its counterpart, the Caracara, also found at San Antonio Zoo.

Known for their unique characteristics, secretary birds are renowned for their ability to consume snakes, including formidable species like black mambas and cobras, using swift kicks from their long legs armed with razor-sharp talons. Named for the black feathers on their heads that resemble quill pens, secretary birds are native to grasslands and savannah habitats across much of Africa.

Unfortunately, they face numerous threats, primarily due to human activities such as habitat destruction caused by urban sprawl and agricultural development. The secretary bird's alarming decline led to its classification on the IUCN Red List shifting from "Least Concern" to "Endangered" between 2009 and 2020.

This milestone hatch at San Antonio Zoo serves as a beacon of hope in our collective efforts to protect and conserve this remarkable species. The proud parents, Bernard (Dad) and Satinka (Mom), have been together for five years, forming a strong bond that has resulted in this successful breeding.

Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo, expressed his excitement, saying, "We are thrilled about the arrival of this secretary bird chick. It serves as a testament to the dedication and expertise of our animal care team. We hope that this successful hatch will raise awareness about the critical conservation work being done to protect these magnificent birds and their natural habitats."