When Rob and I were last in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, we stayed at the Nossop campsite from which it is a short drive to the Kang waterhole.  We like to sit at a waterhole for hours to see what comes along.  On this particular day, we watched in amazement as the number of Secretarybirds just kept growing.  

Polentswa waterhole

I have only ever seen thirteen at one waterhole before and that was at Polentswa, on the Botswana side of this park.  After watching the extravaganza at Kang, we headed on to Polentswa to catch the action there too.  As before, this waterhole turned out to be even better than Kang and we watched the Secretarybirds flying in one after the other.  Our count for the morning was fourteen!

Collective description of Secretarybirds

I wondered what the collective noun for Secretarybirds was; and my research came up with this.  “The collective noun for a group of Secretarybirds is a “march” or a “phalanx” of Secretarybirds. These terms are used to describe a group of these large, long-legged birds when they are seen together. However, it’s worth noting that Secretarybirds are usually solitary or found in pairs, so seeing a large group of them in the wild is relatively uncommon.”

Magnificent landing display

This last sentence is key, because it really is very unusual to see so many of these magnificent birds at one time.  Admittedly, they didn’t come in as a group, but arrived individually.  We never saw more than two or three interacting with each other at any one time.  They are quite large, and when they fly in from the surrounding areas, they give a magnificent landing display.  We felt very lucky to see this spectacle, which apparently is not uncommon in this part of the world.  

They are quite skittish if you get too close to them in the car, but it was interesting to see how they weren’t too afraid when larger animals came close to them.  They obviously knew that they were safe. 

You can read more about them in Rob’s post on Secretarybirds where he describes all their attributes and you can see one eating a puffadder. 

They are such beautiful birds that it is always a treat to see them at any given time.  To see so many on the same day is really special. 



Jane is an avid birder and nature enthusiast, whose deep love for travel, camping and exploring the natural world knows no bounds. Assisted by her nature-loving husband, Rob, a skilled photographer, they form a dynamic duo dedicated to visiting remote and breathtaking landscapes. With their camera lenses as their creative instruments, they capture the beauty of birds and wildlife, all while advocating tirelessly for conservation.

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