Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Grey-headed Fish-eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus)


French: Pygargue à tête grise German: Graukopf-Seeadler Spanish: Pigarguillo común
Other common names: Grey-headed Fishing-eagle

Falco Ichthyaetus


, 1821,



Population of Sri Lanka sometimes awarded separate race, plumbeiceps, differing only in slightly smaller size; not normally accepted. Monotypic.


India, Nepal and Sri Lanka E through Indochina and Malay Peninsula to Greater Sundas, Philippines and Sulawesi.

Descriptive notes

61–75 cm; 1600–2700 g; wingspan 155–170 cm. Medium-sized brownish-grey fishing-eagle, with relatively small head and bill grey, and belly white; white base... read more


Often vocalizes at night, but only during breeding season; most frequently heard is a loud clanging... read more


Lowland forests, mainly below 300 m, occasionally to c. 1500 m; closely associated with large... read more

Food and feeding

Almost exclusively fish; probably also some terrestrial birds (e.g. Gallus junglefowl) and small mammals (e.g. squirrels), rarely... read more


Little studied. Season Dec–Mar in Sri Lanka, Nov–Jan in India; nests found in Jan and Mar in Myanmar, Apr in Sumatra, probably... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Widespread, but only locally common, and population possibly moderately small and believed to be... read more

Recommended citation

Clark, W.S., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grey-headed Fish-eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus). 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).