Their long gangly legs and striking facial palette may have you flicking past the Birds of Prey section in your Africa book, but they are actually thought to be most closely related to hawks and eagles.
Secretary birds eat whatever they want including mammals, birds, amphibians and (often venomous) reptiles.
Upon sighting something with lunch potential, Secretary birds will lash out with their long legs and well developed feet with impressive force.
Prey such as venomous adders and cobras are kicked straight in the head: by pounding the business end of the snake into the ground, the Secretary bird decreases the chance of lunch biting back.
Once it’s definitely ceased to live, the Secretary bird will swallow the snake whole like a string of spaghetti.
They will also stamp on tufts of grass to send any edible occupants running (probably unsuccessfully) for their lives.
It dives from the sky in a daring plunge, snagging other airborne birds in mid-flight with its deadly talons.
Its body is the epitome of aerodynamic design, allowing it to reach—and survive—speeds that would kill other animals.
As it reaches its terminal velocity of over 200 mph, baffles in its nostrils prevent the force of the air from exploding its lungs—a feature that has been incorporated into jet engine design—and nictitating membranes on its eyes protect them from debris.
It snags its hapless victims in its talons, ending their terror with a killing blow from its deadly-sharp beak.