African Fish Eagle {Haliaeetus Vocifer}

South Africa Wildlife

African Fish Eagle {Haliaeetus Vocifer}

The African Fish Eagle
The African Fish Eagle

The African Fish Eagle is most frequently seen by the rivers, lakes and coasts of Africa south of the Sahara. Near Lake Victoria and the other great lakes of Central Africa it is to be seen in large numbers. It is most frequently seen sitting high in a tall tree from where it has a good view of the stretch of river, lakeshore or coastline which is its territory. Near a lake with an abundant food supply, a pair may require less than a km² of water to find enough food, whereas next to a small river, they may require a stretch of 25km or more.

Quick Facts


Name: Haliaeetus Vocifer

Diet Description: Their main food is fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. Catfish and lungfish are among the most frequent. They also catch and eat some water birds, including their young. The birds most frequently taken include ibis, storks, herons and spoonbills and especially the Lesser Flamingo. They also eat some carrion. Live caught fish account for about 90% of their diet.

Habitat: The African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, even sharing kills made by either of them. They spend more time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by mid morning.

Distribution: Widespread in South Africa, the African Fish Eagle is particularly common in and around some of the Rift Valley lakes.

Reproduction: The breeding display consists of much soaring and calling with very occasional claw-grappling. Typical eagles, their nest is used year after year, growing with the addition of new material each year. One to three white eggs are laid at three day intervals. Incubation lasts about 44 days and the young fledge after 65-75 days.

Did you know?


The African Fish Eagle has two distinct calls. When near the nest its call is more of a "quock" sound - the female being, in all cases, a little shriller and less mellow than the male. So well known and clear is the call of this bird that it is often known as "the voice of Africa".

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