Birders Corner April 2018

Focus on : African Fish Eagle

This month we take a closer look at one of the more common birds found visiting Areena – the African Fish Eagle.  Its presence is usually made known by its very distinctive loud ringing call ‘weee-ah, hyo-hyo-hyo’, which is recognised as one of Africa’s classical bird sounds.  If flying, or sitting together, the pair will often call in duet enabling the sexes to be identified by voice, also by size and colouring.  The female is much larger and heavier than the male weighing 3kg to his 2kg, has a lower voice with a deeper note and has a larger white ‘V’ extending down her chestnut chest.

The juvenile of the species takes 4 to 5 years to mature to adult status, during which time the variations in plumage can be confused with many other raptors, the most obvious being the Western Osprey that also happens to be found in the same ‘water ‘ associated habitat.

The diet of the Fish Eagle is mainly fish weighing up to 2.5kg.  It is, however, not very fussy about what it eats and will also scavenge on dead fish, carrion, small mammals, other water birds including Flamingos.