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This unusual and poorly-understood bird is found in rainforests in eastern Madagascar, a habitat from which it rarely ventures. Discovered in 1875, no confirmed sightings were made between the 1930s and the 1980s, and the species was feared extinct. In the 1990s researchers with the Peregrine Fund managed to find the first nests of the bird and take the first photographs of it. All the known nests have been built in epiphytic ferns. The Madagascar Serpent Eagle is similar in size and build to an American Goshawk, but its odd, vulture-like head limits further similarity. Its affinities are unclear, but its closest relative might be the equally peculiar Palm Nut Vulture from Central Africa. It seems to feed mostly on lizards.