Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

African Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)


French: Pygargue vocifer German: Schreiseeadler Spanish: Pigargo vocinglero

Falco vocifer


, 1800,

Keurboom River, Western Cape Province, South Africa


In the past, frequently placed in genus Cuncuma. Closely related to H. vociferoides; the two are sister to the pair H. leucogaster and H. sanfordi#R. Monotypic.


S Mauritania E to Eritrea and Ethiopia and S to South Africa.

Descriptive notes

63–75 cm; male 1985–2500 g, female 3200–3600 g; wingspan 175–210 cm. Adult has white head, mantle and breast, black back and chestnut shoulders, belly... read more


Distinctive, far-ranging “WEEE-AH kleeuw kleeuw kleew” given by both sexes.


Wide range of aquatic habitats, including margins of large lakes, rivers, swamps and reservoirs;... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish of 200–1000 g, but up to 4200 g. Also takes carrion, waterbirds (including young of colonial species), mammals (monkeys,... read more


May lay in any month in most regions, but locally seasonal and generally favours low water conditions, with peak in Oct–Dec/Jan in W... read more


Resident around many permanent waterbodies, usually as territorial pairs. However, rapidly... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common on many major rivers and lakes, often at high densities for such a large predator, needing only 300–600 m of... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Marks, J.S. (2020). African Fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).