The secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a very large terrestrial bird of prey. I was fortunate to spot it in East Africa, where it is usually found in the open grasslands and Savannah.
Africans call it the Devil’s Horse and it is the national emblem of Sudan as well as a prominent feature on the Coat of arms of South Africa.
Thanks to lightning-quick aerial kicks and stomps forceful enough to shatter bone, the secretarybird is a master at immobilizing dangerous prey. A much more formidable hunter than its crane-like appearance would suggest, it is even capable of vanquishing the deadly black mamba, the fastest terrestrial snake in the world. But this skill makes the bird a popular pet for humans, who rob nests and raise young as Protection from snakes. Meanwhile, prey is becoming harder and harder to find due to habitat degradation. So, only a 100,000 of these bird now survive in the wild.