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African Fish Eagle

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To Save this bird, it is to save the world…

AFRICAN FISH EAGLE

(Haliaeetus vocifer)

As their name implies, African Fish Eagles are indigenous to Africa, ranging over most of continental Africa south of the southern-most edge of the Sahara Desert.

It is the national bird of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The African Fish Eagle can be seen flying throughout the Kenyan parks skies and is known by many different names, in many different languages. This beautiful animal, a fairly large eagle and can be identified by its distinctive black, brown and white plumage.

Its habitat is usually limited to fresh water lakes, larger rivers, reservoirs and dams, with enough large trees for it to perch on. These eagles are also found near coastal lagoons and estuaries, but are absent in very arid areas. The nest consists of a large pile of sticks, 120 to 180 cm in diameter, and 30 to 60 cm thick. It is usually build in the fork of a tree, near water, but also sometimes on a cliff ledge or in a low bush on a steep slope.

During your Kenya safari, the African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs, whether it is inside or outside of their breeding season. Breeding season for African Fish Eagles is during the dry season, when water levels are low. African Fish Eagles are believed to mate for life. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs, which are primarily white with a few reddish speckles. Incubation is mostly done by the female, but the male will incubate when the female leaves to hunt. Incubation lasts for 42 to 45 days before the chicks hatch. Fledging lasts for 70 to 75 days, and after about 8 weeks the chick is capable of feeding itself and will usually begin to venture outside of the nest 2 weeks later.

They evenly share the kills made by either between the two of them. As its name suggests, its main diet consists mostly of fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. They are able to catch fish up to 1 kg in weight and in some exceptional circumstances up to 3 kg. It is also known to eat carrion and in some rare circumstances will even feed off dassies, monkeys, monitor lizards, frogs, terrapins and insects. Hunting takes place from where the eagle is perched and rarely whiles it is soaring in the sky. Stooping at fish, African Fish Eagle will catch their pray with their feet, usually within 15 cm of the water surface. They may also submerge at times. The best places to see this magnificent bird is in Amboseli national park, Tsavo national park , Maasai Mara game reserve,lake Baringo and Nakuru National parks as well as around Lake Naivasha.

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