Today we have an unusual bird that is most frequently known as a secretary bird (suggested by Guest Doodlewasher, Kathrin Werner). The scientific name for this one is a sagittarius serpentarius, which translates to “Archer of Snakes” because snakes make up a small portion of their diet. They kill their prey by stomping the crap out of it and, in the case of snakes, ensuring the snakes are quite dead as they aren’t immune to snake poison. The name is thought to come from bits of its appearance that made it resemble a 19th century secretary. Back then, secretaries or clerks were all male, often wore tailcoats and knickerbocker trousers, and placed their quill pens behind their ears.
I opted to just doodlewash the face, although the entire bird is odd looking and can be as tall as 4 to 5 feet (1.2 – 1.5 meters) with a wingspan of 7 feet (2.1 meters). But it was the extra long L’Oreal lashes that fascinated me. These combined with the excessive feather plumage make the secretary bird look like it’s about to a perform in a burlesque show. Although these birds are very good at flying they spend most of their time walking around and strutting their stuff, so it’s not as far-fetched as it might sound.
Usually, these birds will mate for life, finding their mate and settling down in the same little nest and sharing domestic responsibilities and child rearing equally (which might seem strange to many human couples). They remain very close once bonded and will rarely leave one another’s sight. It’s a rather noisy little household as these are loud animals that produce croaks, whistles, groans and clucks, particularly during their courtship or, in rare instances, while performing burlesque. If you have an idea for an uncommon creature, be sure to shout it out in the comments!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Azo Orange, Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!