Madagascar fish eagle

A ‘Critically Endangered’ expert fish hunter of Madagascar

Frank Vassen

One of the largest birds of prey found on Madagascar, the eagle’s plumage is mostly dark brown, with a contrasting white head and tail that make it easily recognizable. Its piercing yellow eyes and sharp talons add to its majestic appearance, making it a symbol of the wild beauty that Madagascar is known for.

This eagle predominantly resides along the northwestern coast and nearby lakes of Madagascar, where it has adapted to life mostly around water. Its diet primarily consists of fish, which it skillfully catches from the water with a sudden and powerful swoop. The eagle’s keen eyesight allows it to spot fish from a great distance, and its strong talons are perfectly adapted for catching and holding slippery prey.

Despite its prowess, the Madagascar Fish Eagle faces several challenges that threaten its survival. One of the main threats is habitat destruction. As human populations grow and expand, the mangrove forests and coastal environments that the eagle depends on are being destroyed or altered. This loss of habitat not only affects the eagles directly by reducing nesting sites but also impacts their food sources.

Another significant challenge is pollution, particularly from pesticides and heavy metals that can accumulate in the water and fish. These toxins can have devastating effects on the eagle’s health, leading to reduced fertility or even death. 

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Madagascar
2016
Breeding
Mauritius
2016
Non-Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No