All African birds of prey can, and most do, kill with their feet. We have often used the word ‘Raptor’ when speaking about birds of prey — and some believe it is another, similar, bird of prey. No, it is not an individual bird, but a word that names a group of specific birds. This word is often used to describe birds of prey because it comes from the Latin word ‘raptare’, which means ‘sieze (grab)’.
Birds of prey have talons. They are a raptor’s (birds of prey) most important tool.
All fish eagles and osprey have scaly feet. They are designed this way so that they can grasp (hold) slippery prey — like fish, their main, or depending on species, exclusive choice of prey.
Some African birds of prey can pursue their prey underwater because they have denser bones than birds that fly, as they are heavier so can move through water, but they have another great benefit and that is that their feathers tightly fit together so its like a wetsuit — streamlined birds, like the penguin.
Some birds of prey feed on venomous snakes.
Some are immune to certain toxins, but the main reason for them evading death, is they usually distract them, for example, the secretary bird flaps its wings, or outstretches them and that is enough for the snake to direct its focus on their wings. That split second is long enough for the bird to strike. Within the blink of an eye, the snake is stomped to death or stunned, sometimes a bite usually in the back of the head.
That distraction is enough for the Raptor (bird of prey) to quickly grab it and it is over for the snake. Their plumage (feathers) and heavily scaled legs and feet play a role, too, as they act as armour and protect them against bites.