Thursday, 26 January 2017

464 | The African Fish Eagle is Namibia's Bird of the Year 2017


Photo by Stefan Rust

Without water there would be no life. Water is a precious, indispensable resource for man. And who does not know better than the inhabitants of Namibia, this country that is considered to be the driest country South of the Sahara.
As a representative for all wetland inhabitants, BirdsConTour has chosen the African Fish Eagle as Bird of the Year 2017 in Namibia. It is intended to promote the conservation of the threatened habitat of wetlands and to raise awareness among the general public of the needs of wetland-dwelling animals. Wetland inhabitants are indispensable elements of species diversity. We Namibians should do everything to protect them, to stabilize their populations or to increase them.

Photo by Stefan Rust

The adult African Fish Eagle is unmistakable. Characteristic is the strikingly white head, the short white tail and the wide dark wings. Their dark claws, beaks and eyes are responsible for their being known as ancient fish eagles.

Origin of name:
Its Latin term Haliaeetus vocifer translated directly means noisy (vocifer) sea eagle (haliaeetus).

The African Fish Eagle is a large bird, with the female, at 3.2-3.6 kg, is 10-15% larger than the male. Females have a broader white chest and wingspans of 2.4 m, the body length is 63-75 cm.

Couples are very territorial. When groups of this kind are seen, it is mostly parents with their offspring, or young birds, who have not yet established their own territories.

At the top of the menu on our bird of the year is mainly fish. But it also feeds on carrion and it may catch a variety of small animals. He usually hunts from a perch, gliding towards a surface-swimming fish, grabbing him and returning to a perch.

The African Fish Eagle is mostly at home at larger bodies of fresh water, but also coastal lagoons and estuaries.

Status and Threats:
A serious threat to this species, classified as vulnerable because of its surprisingly small population of fewer than 600 birds, is over-fishing by humans. This drives away birds from otherwise suitable rivers. But degradation of the water quality and the surrounding environment through the use of pesticides and destruction of large trees continues to be a threat.

To increase the numbers of this bird of the year and many other animals that depend on suitable wetland areas, prevention of over-fishing, establishment of river-based conservancies, protection of large riverine trees and strict control of pesticide use shall be implemented and adhered to.

Get involved:
Birthday calendars in aid of wetland conservation.

BirdsConTour offers the opportunity to buy this amazing birthday calendar and support wetland conservation with every purchase.
Buy a Birds of Namibia Birthday Calendar for you or as a gift from BirdsConTour for only N$190.-. (excluding shipping costs) by ordering via or +264 (0) 81 129 8415 / +264 (0) 81 230 7506 and know that a percentage of the proceeds is helping support wetland conservation in Namibia.
Our Birds of Namibia Birthday Calendar Sale is raising much needed funds. If the BirdsConTour logo is on the calendar you know that N$10.-. of the purchase will help protect wetlands.

Since 2013, BirdsConTour chooses the Bird of the Year in Namibia.

2013 Common Ostrich
Photo by Stefan Rust

2014 Kori Bustard
Photo by Birgit Leicher

2015 House Sparrow
Photo by Birgit Leicher

2016 Lappet-faced Vulture
Photo by Birgit Leicher

2017 African Fish Eagle
Photo by Birgit Leicher

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