How Fast is the African Fish Eagle?


How Fast is the African Fish Eagle?

The African fish eagle is a powerful and impressive bird of prey found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Known for its distinctive call and impressive hunting skills, this majestic eagle is capable of reaching impressive speeds as it dives for its prey.

The Speed of the African Fish Eagle

According to the information provided, the African fish eagle can fly at speeds of up to 20 mph (32 km/h). This impressive speed allows the bird to swiftly dive into the water and catch fish with its sharp talons and barbed feet.

While the exact speed at which the African fish eagle dives is not specified, it is clear that this bird is a formidable predator in the sky. Its large wingspan, ranging from 6.6 feet (2 meters) for males to 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) for females, provides the necessary lift and power to achieve these high speeds.

Factors Affecting the African Fish Eagle’s Speed

how fast is the african fish eagleImage source: African fish eagle above water by Mehmet Karatay

Several factors can influence the speed of the African fish eagle, including:

  1. Body Size and Weight: The larger size and heavier weight of the female African fish eagle compared to the male may impact their respective diving speeds.

  2. Wind Conditions: The bird’s speed may be affected by the prevailing wind conditions, with tailwinds potentially allowing for faster dives.

  3. Prey Behavior: The speed and movement of the fish the eagle is targeting may also influence the bird’s diving speed and approach.

  4. Hunting Technique: The African fish eagle employs different hunting strategies, such as soaring and waiting patiently before diving, which could impact its overall speed.

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The Iconic Call of the African Fish Eagle

In addition to its impressive speed, the African fish eagle is renowned for its distinctive call, which has been described as a loud, clear, and ringing cry that can be heard from great distances. This iconic call has become a symbol of the African wilderness and has been used in various forms of media to represent the spirit of the continent.

Conservation Efforts for the African Fish Eagle

While the African fish eagle is not currently facing any significant threats, there are potential challenges that could impact its population in the future. These include:

  • Pesticide Buildup: The accumulation of pesticides in the bird’s habitat and food sources can have detrimental effects.
  • Water Quality Degradation: Declining water quality in the eagle’s hunting grounds can impact the availability and health of its prey.
  • Habitat Loss: The development and degradation of shoreline habitats can reduce the suitable nesting and hunting areas for the African fish eagle.
  • Entanglement in Gill Nets: Non-biodegradable fishing nets can pose a threat to the eagle, leading to entanglement and potential injury or death.

Conservation efforts aimed at addressing these issues are crucial to ensuring the long-term survival and well-being of the African fish eagle.


The African fish eagle is a remarkable bird of prey, known for its impressive speed, hunting prowess, and iconic call. With the ability to reach speeds of up to 20 mph, this majestic eagle is a true master of the skies. By understanding the factors that influence its speed and the potential threats to its population, we can better appreciate and protect this iconic species of the African continent.

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