How Big Does a African Fish Eagle Get?

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How Big Does a African Fish Eagle Get?

The African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) is a large bird of prey that is indigenous to Africa, ranging over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert. It is a member of the family Accipitridae, which includes eagles, hawks, and kites. The African Fish Eagle is a sexually dimorphic species, with females being larger than males.

Females vs Males: Size Differences

Females typically weigh between 3.2-3.6 kg (7-8 lbs) and have a wingspan of over 2.4 m (8 feet), while males weigh between 2-2.5 kg (4.4-5.5 lbs) and have a wingspan of about 2 m (6 feet). The body length of the African Fish Eagle is 63-75 cm (25-30 in).

Measurement Females Males
Weight 3.2-3.6 kg (7-8 lbs) 2-2.5 kg (4.4-5.5 lbs)
Wingspan Over 2.4 m (8 feet) About 2 m (6 feet)
Body Length 63-75 cm (25-30 in) 63-75 cm (25-30 in)

Distinctive Appearance

how big does a african fish eagle getImage source: African fish eagle above water by Mehmet Karatay

The African Fish Eagle is a distinctive bird, with a mostly brown body and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African Fish Eagles are snow white, and the hook-shaped beak is mostly yellow with a black tip.

Habitat and Diet

This species is still quite common near freshwater lakes, reservoirs, or rivers, although they can sometimes be found near the coast at the mouths of rivers or lagoons. The African Fish Eagle feeds mainly on fish, which it catches by swooping down upon and snatching from the water with its large clawed talons. It will also feed on waterfowl, small turtles, baby crocodiles, and carrion.

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Hunting Techniques

Should the African Fish Eagle catch a fish over 1.8 kg (4 pounds) it will be too heavy to allow it to get lift, so it will instead drag the fish across the surface of the water until it reaches the shore. The African Fish Eagle is a powerful and opportunistic hunter, and it will also take advantage of other food sources when available. It has been known to steal the catch of other bird species, a practice known as kleptoparasitism.

Conservation Status

In terms of conservation, the African Fish Eagle is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, its population is believed to be declining due to habitat loss, pollution, and persecution.

References:
– African Fish Eagle v Bateleur – Carnivora
– African Fish Eagle v Tawny Eagle – Carnivora
– African Fish Eagle – Wikipedia
– African Fish-eagle | The Peregrine Fund
– African Fish Eagle – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Picture