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African Fish Eagle

Fish Eagle
Visarend, African Fish Eagle
Back Afrikaanse Visarend puntje African Fish Eagle
Haliaeetus vocifer
Kruger National Park

Distribution - African Fish Eagles are found near any water containing fish, hence are present across most rivers, lakes and coasts of Africa south of the Sahara, mostly along Rift Valley lakes. Most often seen sitting high in a tall tree from where it has a good view of the stretch of water which is its territory. Near a lake with an abundant food supply, a pair may require less than a square mile of water to find enough food, whereas next to a small river, they may require a stretch of 15 miles or more.

Diet - Live caught fish account for about 90% of the African Fish Eagle's diet. The remainder include some water birds, including their young, and amphibians. The birds most frequently taken include ibis, storks, herons and spoonbills and especially the Lesser Flamingo. They also eat some carrion. They steal prey from other birds (kleptoparasitism). Prey usually less than 2 kg.

Life expectancy - In captivity and with good care the life expectancy is in excess of 40 years. Rcords collected in Equatorial Africa suggest that birds who survive the first year may expect to live up to 12-15 years.

Biological details - Length 63 - 75 cm. Span female 237 cm, male 191 cm. Weight female 3.17-3.63 kg, male 1.99-2.50 kg. Nest is used year after year, growing with the addition of new material each year. Eggs: 1-3 white eggs, laid at three day intervals. Incubation: about 44 days, the young fledge after 65-75 days.
Usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, spending more time perched than flying.
Breeding display: much soaring and calling, with very occasional claw-grappling.
Voice: The very well known and clear call of this bird is often known as "the voice of Africa". In flight or perched, the sound is a loud yelping WHOW-kayow-kwow, near the nest its call more of a "quock" sound - the female being a little shriller than the male.

Other names - UK Fish Eagle, River Eagle - F Pygargue vocifer, Pygargue vocifère, Aigle pêcheur d'Afrique, Aigle vocifer - D Schreiseeadler - ES Pigargo Vocinglero - PT Pigargo Africano - S Skrikhavsörn - NL Afrikaanse Zeearend, Rivierarend - IT Aquila pescatrice africana, Aquila urlatrice - FI Kiljumerikotka - DK Gabenæb

puntje Ian Sinclair - A photographic guide to birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publ., ISBN 1-86872-553-7
puntje Ian Sinclair et al. - Sasol birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publ. ISBN 1-86872-033-0
puntje Kenneth Newman - Newman se voëls van Suider-Afrika.SAPPI. ISBN 1-868-12-758-3

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