Kenya Birds

African Fish Eagle


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African Fish Eagle

Photograph(s) Copyright İP&H HARRIS

Haliaeetus vocifer

Other Pics: Juvenile Fish Eagle

Other Names

  English Fish Eagle, River Eagle   French Pygargue vocifer, Aigle pêcheur   German Schreiseeadler   Spanish Pigargo Vocinglero   Swedish Skrikhavsörn   Dutch Afrikaanse Zeearend   Italian Aquila pescatrice africana, Aquila urlatrice

World: Widespread in Africa south of 16°N although mostly absent from the arid areas of eastern Somalia and in the sw of the continent

Kenya: Found near any water containing fish and so present across most of the country except for the arid north east

The African Fish Eagle has a very distinctive call which is one of the distinctive sounds of Kenya (once heard it is never forgotten). It is particularly common in and around some of the Rift Valley lakes. Although, as its name suggests, it feeds extensively on fish, in some areas (eg Lake Bogoria) it preys on flamingos and other water birds. It is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite ie it steals prey from other birds. Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to Fish Eagles.

The totally different looking bird on the right is the juvenile Fish Eagle. The appearance changes gradually over three or four years with the dark streaking on the breast being the last part of the juvenile plumage to vanish.

Both the birds pictured above were photographed at Lake Baringo, in January 2001.

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