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How Many Birds of Prey Hunt for Food on Foot?

Also known as raptors, birds of prey hunt vertebrates, including other birds, and might also hunt for fish and various forms of carrion. Although there are many types of birds of prey, only two are known to primarily hunt for food on foot: the secretary bird and the caracara. Both birds are capable of flight, but they primarily hunt for prey from the ground.

More facts about caracaras and secretary birds:

  • Secretary birds have long legs, wings and tails. It is not unusual for these birds to grow to a height of 4 feet (1.22 m), with 3 feet (0.91 meters) composed of their legs. Native to Africa from the Sahara and southward, the bird is sometimes kept in captivity to ward off snakes.

  • Caracaras are found throughout parts of the Western Hemisphere and are the only known falcons to construct nests of sticks rather than other materials. The caracara's powerful talons make it possible to grip and rip flesh from prey.

  • Secretary birds tend to be terrestrial, flying only when necessary to evade enemies. The bird might walk as far as 20 miles (32.2 km) in a single day. By contrast, caracaras are slow-flying birds of prey that will sometimes compete with vultures for access to roadkill and other carrion.

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