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The secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannas of the sub-Saharan region. It is a very large bird with an eagle-like body on crane-like legs that give the bird a height of about 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). The sexes are similar in appearance. Adults have a featherless red-orange face and mostly grey plumage, with a flattened dark crest and black flight feathers and thighs. The secretarybird hunts and catches prey on the ground, often stomping on victims to kill them. Insects and small vertebrates make up its diet. Although the secretarybird has a large range, localised surveys suggest that the total population is experiencing a rapid decline, probably as a result of habitat degradation. The species is therefore classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The secretarybird appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa. (Full article...)

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Plate 1 of Ignace-Gaston Pardies's celestial atlas

Ignace-Gaston Pardies (1636–1673) was a French Catholic priest and scientist. His celestial atlas, entitled Globi coelestis in tabulas planas redacti descriptio, comprised six charts of the night sky and was first published in 1674. The atlas uses a gnomonic projection so that the plates make up a cube of the celestial sphere. The constellation figures are drawn from Uranometria, but were carefully reworked and adapted to a broader view of the sky. This is the first plate from a 1693 edition of Pardies's atlas, centred on the north celestial pole and depicting part of the northern sky. An index of constellations is provided in the left and right margins, in Latin and French, respectively.

Map credit: Ignace-Gaston Pardies