Buteogallus daggetti

An illustration of an extinct bird of prey. It resembles an eagle with especially long legs.

This leggy bird is known as Daggett’s eagle (Buteogallus daggetti), a bird of prey from the Late Pleistocene of southwest North America.

Living between about 2.5 million and 13,000 years ago, it would have stood around 80cm tall (2′7″), with a wingspan of almost 2m (6′6″) and a  fairly hefty body weight of 3kg (6.6lbs). Its feet had less grasping ability than other eagles but it also had particularly strong leg muscles, suggesting it was much better adapted for walking around on the ground.

With its large size, long legs, and terrestrial habits it seems to have convergently evolved to fill the same ecological niche as the modern secretarybird – a grassland-dwelling walking predator that hunted on foot, kicking and stomping small prey animals like snakes, lizards, and rodents.

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