African Fish Eagle perched DSC_4213

R5,000.00

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Perched on a branch high up looking for his next meal. Amazing. I have never seen so many giant Fish eagles as this trip to the Botswana Delta.

The African fish eagle is a large bird, and the female, at 3.2–3.6 kg  is larger than the male, at 2.0–2.5 kg . This is typical sexual dimorphisme in birds of prey. Males usually have wingspans around 2 m, while females have wingspans of 2.4 m. The body length is 63–75 cm. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body with a white head like the bald eagle and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African fish eagles are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in colour. The hook-shaped beak, ideal for a carnivorous lifestyle, is yellow with a black tip. The plumage of the juvenile is brown in colour, and the eyes are paler compared to the adult. The feet have rough soles and are equipped with powerful talons to enable the eagle to grasp slippery aquatic prey. While this species mainly subsists on fish, it is opportunistic and may take a wider variety of prey such as waterbirds. Its distinctive cry is, for many, evocative of the spirit or essence of Africa. The call, shriller when uttered by males, is a weee-ah, hyo-hyo or a heee-ah, heeah-heeah.

This species is still quite common near freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, although they can sometimes be found near the coast at the mouths of rivers or lagoons. African fish eagles are indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa, ranging over most of continental Africa south of the Sahara desert. Several examples of places where they may be resident include the Orange river in South Africa and Namibia, the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The African fish eagle is thought to occur in substantial numbers around the locations of Lake Victoria and other large lakes in central Africa, particularly the Rift Valley lakes. The African fish eagle is absent from arid areas with little surface water.

The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes are used to navigate past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos. However, the bird life in these regions are equally rich in diversity.

I took this photo while on my first Botswana Delta photo safari trip. April 2019.