When in flight, the underwings appear chestnut, and it has black flight feathers. It has short and squared whitetail. The head is white too. Eyes are chestnut to pale brown. Bill is black and yellow. Legs and feet are yellow. The immature has duller upperparts, spotted with brown. The underparts are rather whitish with broad blackish spots on the belly and streaked chest. The tail is white, heavily spotted with black.
They reach their adult plumage at about five years old. Chicks are covered with white down. Bill is horn and pale yellow. Legs are pink. The African Fish Eagle is a large bird, the female, at 3.2–3.6 kg and is larger than the male, at 2.0–2.5 kg. This is typical sexual dimorphism in birds of prey. Males usually have wingspans around 2m while females have wingspans of 2.4m. The body length is 63–75 cm. African Fish-Eagle is sedentary.
They live in pairs close to the streams. Very active and agile, it is quite able to perform bold aerial displays. The female lays two white eggs. Incubation lasts about 42 to 45 days, shared by both parents. Chicks remain at nest for about 65 days.
They can fly at about 70 to 75 days of age, but they are still raised by a female (male feeds only the chicks). They depend from their parents for two months more after their first flight.
African Fish-Eagle’s call is very well known where it is living, and it is often known as the “Africa’s voice”. It has a typical call, a loud barking carrying far, “whii-oh-hyo-hyo-hyo”, frequently uttered, and almost similar to gull’s calls. It often calls while flying, and it is noisier at dawn. Close to the nest, it utters a soft “quock”. Female is noiseless than male.
What does the African Fish Eagle prey on?
African Fish-Eagle feeds mainly on fish, but it also consumes carrion, eggs and chicks of shorebirds, some aquatic birds (larger than flamingos), more rarely monkeys, lizards, frogs, sea-turtles or insects. It dives entirely into the water to hunt prey. It hunts starting from a perch, generally a large tree close to the water, from where it can watch over the place. It performs an approach in soft descent, and kicks out its talons ahead, almost stopping its flight to catch its prey, at about fifteen centimetres under the surface. It can capture fish of up to 1kg, and sometimes of up to 3kg. But beyond 2,5 kg, it cannot take it in flight. Then, it glides above the water to the shore, pulling its prey it swoops down upon from a perch in a tree, snatching the prey from the water with its large, clawed talons. The eagle then flies back to its perch to eat its catch. It may steal prey from other birds, and attack Shorebirds’ clutches, taking eggs and chicks.
How the African Fish Eagle Nests
African Fish-Eagle’s nest is huge and made with sticks. It may reach 120 to 180 cm in diameter, and 30 to 60 cm in-depth, sometimes 120 cm when the nest is reused several times. It is lined with grasses, green leaves and roots. It is located between 4 and 22metres above the ground, in a fork in a tree, near water. It is rarely found on cliffs or in bushes in steep slopes.
Where to see the African Fish Eagle in Uganda
Wondering where to sight the African Fish Eagle on a Uganda safari/Uganda tour or safari to Uganda, here are the top spots to see it. The African Fish Eagle can easily be seen in Murchison Falls National Park during the Nile boat cruise, Queen Elizabeth National Park during a Uganda safari boat cruise along the Kazinga channel. It can also be seen in Lake Mburo National Park and on Lake Victoria.
The African Fish Eagle is just one of the bird species that can be seen on Uganda safaris out of the over 1072 bird species confirmed in the country. For more bird watching tours, Rwanda safaris, Tanzania birding safaris, a Kenya safari or Congo tour offers much more to tick on your bird list. All of these can be tailored in a single East African trip.
During your Uganda birding safaris tour, Uganda birding tour or birding tour Uganda, you have chances of spotting up to 1072 bird species along your Uganda birding safaris trails including the historic shoebill stork. It is also wise you supplement your birding safari Uganda on your Africa tour with a Uganda wildlife tour, a Uganda gorilla tour or short Uganda gorilla safari, a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, Uganda wildlife safaris, Uganda gorilla safaris, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda hiking safaris, Uganda Rwanda cycling safaris, a Jinja city tour or 1 Day Jinja city tour, a Kampala city tour or a 1-day Kampala city excursion, a Uganda cycling safari depending on your choice of safari in Uganda.
It is also possible to modify your Birding safari in Uganda or Birding tour in Uganda to feature other Africa safari destinations like Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya among the many. Congo safaris or a Congo safari offers you chance enjoy a Congo gorilla safari in Kahuzi Biega National Park to trek lowland gorillas or a Congo gorilla trekking tour in Virunga National Park to trek the famous Mountain gorillas.
Rwanda too has lots of Rwanda safari activities to offer travellers interested in Rwanda tours like Rwanda birding safaris, Rwanda gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Nyungwe Forest National Park, a canopy walk in Nyungwe, a Kigali city tour or a Rwanda wildlife safari in Akagera National Park.
Tanzania safaris offer one of the best Africa wildlife safaris including Tanzania birding safaris. A Tanzania wildlife safari offers you the chance to visit Africas’ most famous Serengeti National Park while Kenya safaris offer Kenya birding safaris and Kenya wildlife safaris that bid you the chance to visit Masaai Mara National Park.
Book your Uganda birding safaris tour, birding safari Uganda or Bird watching safaris Uganda with us for the best ultimate Africa safari tour memories.