Known as “the Voice of Africa”, the Fish Eagle is to me, one of the most beautiful and fascinating birds to explore and photograph. They distinctive sound they make is a sound that reminds me of home, close to the river banks where the Vaal and the Orange River meets.
The Fish eagle, especially in our area, is seen on the banks of the river, but they are also found by lakes and coasts of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They are also usually seen in pairs, that is not just related to breeding season.
The Fish Eagle weighs anything from 2kg to 3.6 kg with a length of anything between 63 – 77 cm. They have quite a big wingspan of about 175 – 210 cm.
They are carnivores and mostly eat fish, whether dead or alive, and Catfish is among the most frequent type. They will also catch and eat water birds like ibis, storks, spoonbills and most likely the Lesser Flamingo, but life caught fish makes up about 90% of their diet.
The African Fish Eagle lives in pairs and are very good hunters. Though they spend little time hunting, they spend most of the day at leisure, sitting on a branch overlooking water.
The African Fish Eagle is monogamous and breeds only once a year. They use the same nest every year, they only add new material each year. They will lay anything from 1 to 3 white eggs in 3 day intervals and has an incubation period of about 44 days.
The African Fish Eagle can live 12 to 14 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity. Their primary predators are snakes and people.
“When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter. The Eagle alone, avoids the storm by flying above it. So, in the storms of life… may your heart soar like an Eagle.”