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Rare Secretary Bird Chick Born at Abilene Zoo

Abilene Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a rare secretary chick, marking a significant event in conservation efforts for this endangered species.
Secretary Bird Press Release

Abilene Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a rare secretary chick, marking a significant event in conservation efforts for this endangered species. Born on Saturday, April 6th, the chick is the second offspring of parents Pam and Jagger, following the birth of Stan last year. 

“Our pair is very bonded. They are part of a breeding loan program with the Denver Zoo, which means we collaborate to breed and maintain a genetically diverse population of endangered species. In this arrangement, both zoos contribute to the breeding efforts, and the offspring produced are shared between the institutions,” stated Matthew Strong, Zoo Registrar. 

Secretary birds are a rare sight in zoos, with Abilene Zoo being one of only twelve facilities in North America housing this bird of prey species. Out of those, Abilene Zoo’s pair of secretary bird births account for a remarkable 40% of all births within the past year, highlighting the breeding program’s success. 

Known for their striking appearance and unique behavior, secretary birds are native to southern and central Africa, inhabiting tall grasslands. They are known for their role as snake-eating raptors, utilizing their long legs to stomp and consume their prey. 

Secretary Bird Press Release 1
Secretary Bird Press Release 2

“There are very few institutions that have these birds, and even fewer institutions that breed them. Over the last 12 months, only San Diego, San Antonio, and Abilene have bred 5 chicks total,” remarked Phillip Nigro, Animal Care Supervisor. “Being a part of that means that we help secure the population of secretary birds for future generations.” 

The gender of the newly hatched chick is unknown, and as such, it remains unnamed. The chick is spending time in its nest on exhibit and will soon be old enough to explore its habitat. At two weeks old, the chick represents hope for continued conservation efforts aimed at preserving this magnificent species.

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