black body; white underwing bordered by black (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

Terathopius ecaudatus

Native Range: Africa

Notes: a fascinating and behaviorally distinctive species that gets its name from the French word for tightrope walker, due to its unusual flight profile; when it flies, it constantly tilts frome side-to-side on swept-back wings, giving it the look of a tight-rope walker using a long pole for precarious balance; its flight profile is further distinctive in the sense that it can be hard to tell if the bird is coming or going because the head and tail look similar and protrude similarly from the bird's body. inhabits open savanas and sometimes perches on the ground near waterholes.

head and tail protrude similarly from body (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

bill and feet are both bright red (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

tilts side to side on dihedral wings (South Africa; 2007-06-30)

can raise a ruff around its head; rufous on back (pet show; 2013-04-20)

dorsal view; note white patches in the wings (pet show; 2013-04-20)

posing for a head shot and showing ruff feathers (pet show; 2013-04-20)