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>Secretary birds have really short, weak toes that don't curve much, and can't
>really grip things too well. They are unlike the long, flexible toes of
>'typical' non-avian theropods and are specially adapted for stamping on snakes
>and other small fare. 

This is correct (comes of relying on memory too much) - in effect
secretarybirds stomp their prey to death.
>> An opposable foot can be
>> used to subdue small reptiles or even extract them from burrows (as the
>> living Harrier-hawks of Africa and Crane-hawk of the New World Tropics do
>> very efficiently).
>A ?Pliocene Aussie raptor (ornithological sense) that could do this was
>recently, but I'm unaware of any technical lit. Can anyone help?

On this point - the living species have, apparently convergently, evolved a
highly-specialized ankle joint that allows them to reach into crevices and
holes on vertical trunks from almost any position.  It occurs to me that the
presence of such a joint in a small theropod might well be a strong
indicator of arboreal foraging of this type.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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