The secretary bird, a native of southern Africa, acquired its name by the supposed resemblance of its black feathery head plumes to a secretary with a quill pen behind its ear. Strange as it may be, the bird was aptly named as some of its characteristics are appropriate to the secretarial profession.
ICSA Secretary Rusell Day must be given credit for ICSA adopting the secretary bird as its crest in 1896. Through a study of the bird, he discovered that its most prominent characteristics were alertness and its ability to successfully prey on snakes. This signified the vigilant character to be instilled in every chartered secretary. A creature of habit, the bird mates for life and is fiercely protective of its territory being a classic, portrayal of a chartered secretary's pursuit of high ethical standards.
Russell Day had also shipped from South Africa a specimen of the bird to present it to the ICSA. The mascot was mounted in a glass case but unfortunately was destroyed when the Institute's premises were bombed on 29 December 1940. However, it was later replaced and resumed its duty as a symbol of high professionalism among chartered secretaries.