Fish Eagle

With its distinctive plumage and remarkable hunting abilities, this bird is highly regarded as a symbol of African wildlife.




year life span





Vulnerability Factor

Least Concerned

Activity period




The Fish Eagle is a large raptor known for its impressive
fishing skills and haunting call

The Fish Eagle, with its striking appearance and awe-inspiring aerial prowess, captivates the attention of nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike. With a wingspan reaching up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) and a body length of approximately 75 centimetres (30 inches), the Fish Eagle commands attention wherever it flies. This magnificent bird boasts a dark brown plumage, a white head and breast, and a distinctive hooked beak. Its keen eyesight allows it to spot prey from great distances, and its strong talons enable it to snatch fish from the water’s surface with remarkable precision and agility. The Fish Eagle is renowned for its haunting call, a distinctive, melodious sound that echoes through the African landscape. This call, often likened to a ringing laugh, serves as a territorial declaration and can be heard across vast distances, adding to the allure and mystique of this iconic bird.

Find them at the following tours

Our carefully crafted tours offer the perfect opportunity to witness a diverse array of magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. Join us on these remarkable journeys to see this animal, and let the magic of the animal kingdom unfold before your eyes.
Fish Eagle Overview


Elephants offer exceptional photography opportunities, showcasing their striking appearance and unique characteristics. Photographers can capture stunning images, from close-ups of expressive faces and intricate trunk movements to grand landscapes highlighting their presence in their natural habitats.

While elephants were once widespread across Africa and Asia, they have become increasingly rare and face significant conservation challenges. Witnessing these gentle giants in the wild is a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience.

Fish Eagle Overview

Key facts

  • Fish Eagles have a wingspan of up to 2 meters, making them impressive birds of prey.
  • Their dark brown feathers and white head create a striking appearance.
  • Fish Eagles are skilled fish hunters, using their sharp talons to catch their prey.
  • With their distinctive call resembling a ringing laugh, Fish Eagles are known for their vocal presence.
  • These majestic birds showcase powerful flight and agile manoeuvres.
  • Fish Eagles thrive in habitats near rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal areas abundant with fish.
  • They are widespread across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to South Africa.
  • Fish Eagles form monogamous pairs and construct large stick nests close to water sources.
  • As top predators, Fish Eagles contribute to the regulation of fish populations and the balance of aquatic ecosystems.
  • While not currently endangered, conservation efforts are crucial to safeguard their habitats and food sources.

Types and Habitats

The Fish Eagle belongs to the genus Haliaeetus and is a species of sea eagle. It is primarily found in sub-Saharan Africa, inhabiting a variety of aquatic environments such as rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal regions. The bird’s preference for these habitats is due to the abundance of fish, its main food source. There are several subspecies of Fish Eagles found in different regions of Africa, including the African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), the Madagascar Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), and the Pallas’s Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) found in parts of Asia. Each subspecies may exhibit slight variations in appearance and behaviour, adapting to their specific habitats and prey availability. Fish Eagles are opportunistic predators and adapt their hunting techniques based on the type of water body they inhabit. They often perch on trees near the water’s edge, patiently scanning the surface for fish movements. Once a target is spotted, the bird swoops down, extending its sharp talons to snatch the fish from the water, then carries it to a nearby perch to consume.


Explore the Fascinating World of This Animal Through These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Fish Eagles primarily feed on fish, but they are opportunistic hunters and may also consume small mammals, birds, and carrion.

The distinct call of a Fish Eagle can carry for several kilometres, serving as a territorial announcement and attracting potential mates.

Fish Eagles are generally solitary birds, except during the breeding season when they form monogamous pairs.

While Fish Eagles are not adapted for swimming, they are capable of swimming short distances if necessary.

The African Fish Eagle is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not currently facing a high risk of extinction.

Fish Eagles construct large stick nests, often located on tall trees near bodies of water. They may reuse and expand the same nest year after year.

Yes, Fish Eagles are highly territorial birds, defending their nesting territories from intruders and other Fish Eagles.

In the wild, Fish Eagles can live up to 20-25 years, although some individuals may live longer in captivity.

Yes, Fish Eagles are skilled soarers and can glide effortlessly for extended periods, conserving energy while searching for prey.

Fish Eagles are generally non-migratory birds, but some populations may undertake local movements in search of food or suitable breeding sites.

Yes, Fish Eagles build their nests near water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, providing easy access to their primary food source, fish.

Fish Eagles primarily hunt by perching near the water and diving to catch fish. However, they can also hunt from the air, scanning the surface and making aerial strikes when opportunities arise.