Fun Lesser Fish Eagle Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 20, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 23, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Lesser fish eagle facts are great for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

If you're interested to learn more about different species of birds like eagles, you'll love to know more about the lesser fish eagle that resides in the Indian subcontinent along with in various south-east Asian countries. This gray eagle species is known for living in forest fringes with water bodies like rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. The eagle is known for being keen on preying on fish and it's quite adept at catching fish from fast-flowing streams thanks to its curved talons. You can easily recognize the eagle by its gray feathers which cover its head, wings, and tails. The breast area features deep brown-colored feathers which make the bird look even more majestic. The thigh and belly regions are white.

Unfortunately, the population of this species has been declining, and IUCN has classified it as a Near Threatened bird. This is mainly due to the interference of humans in its natural habitat which has led to the destruction of areas that were usually frequented by lesser fish eagles.

Keep reading to know more fascinating lesser eagle facts and about other birds. Also, check out the articles on collared forest falcon and saker falcon to know more about other birds.

Lesser Fish Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lesser fish eagle?

The lesser fish eagle is one of the birds of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. Even the martial eagle is part of the same family.

What class of animal does a lesser fish eagle belong to?

Like all other bird species, the lesser fish eagle belongs to the class Aves.

How many lesser fish eagles are there in the world?

As per the stats of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the total global population of this species is around 10,000-50,000 mature individuals. Because of the small population, this bird has been classified as Near Threatened. It also seems like their population is decreasing.

Where does a lesser fish eagle live?

The lesser fish eagle is typically found in the Indian subcontinent, often inhabiting the foothills of the Himalayas. However, the bird is also seen in different parts of south-east Asia. For instance, the subspecies Haliaeetus humilis humilis is especially found in Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. While the subspecies Haliaeetus humilis plumbeus is native to Kashmir and southeast India and is also found in Burma, Nepal, and parts of China.

What is a lesser fish eagle's habitat?

The lesser fish eagle inhabits forest-fringed water bodies like rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Furthermore, you can find the population of this species near hill streams with a rapid flow. The average altitude at which the bird dwells is around 7,874 ft (2,400 m), but in Nepal, some lesser fish eagles have been spotted in even higher altitudes at a height of about 13,123 ft (4,000 m).

Who do lesser fish eagles live with?

Not much is known about the living behavior of this population. However, given that eagles are a solitary species, we can assume that lesser fish eagles only come together in groups or pairs during the breeding season.

How long does a lesser fish eagle live?

We don't know about the exact lifespan of this species, but in general, fish eagles live for around 13-17 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Lesser fish eagles breed between the months of March and August in North India and Nepal. But, in some regions like Burma, the birds may reproduce in the winter months of November through to April. The female lays about two to four eggs per clutch after making a nest made of green leaves and tree branches on top of a tall tree close to a water body.

What is their conservation status?

According to the BirdLife International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the H. humilis or lesser fish eagle is currently placed under the classification of Near Threatened. The population is mainly declining due to continued human disturbance in its natural habitat.

Lesser Fish Eagle Fun Facts

What do lesser fish eagles look like?

Lesser fish eagle facts help to learn about new species.

These medium-sized eagles are quite plain-looking, and it's covered in gray-brown ad white plumage. Often, there is confusion between lesser fish eagle vs gray-headed fish eagle, but the difference lies in the brown chest feathers of the former species. The brown or maroon feathers are mostly limited to the chest area, while its small head is full of gray feathers. The lesser fish eagle juvenile looks paler compared to the adults. And, while in flight, you can see the white feathers present in the lower belly and thighs. The birds have brown eyes and featherless legs along with broad and blunt wings. They have short tails and curved talons to catch their prey. Even though the females and males look alike, the females are usually larger than the male.

How cute are they?

This bird may not be as cute as the lanner falcon, but it surely looks majestic, especially due to its large wingspan.

How do they communicate?

The eagle population communicates with the aid of different types of calls including the hak-hak and ow sounds. During the mating season, the pairs take part in a unison song which is often raucous and loud. However, females are generally more vocal and louder than males during the mating season. These birds are also known to vocalize while claiming their territories.

How big is a lesser fish eagle?

The average size of these birds is around 19.6-27.5 in (50-70 cm). It's considered as one of the smaller members of the Haliaeetus genus. Compared to it, the tawny eagle measures around 24-28 in (61-71.12 cm).

How high can a lesser fish eagle fly?

We don't really know about the exact speed of this species, but eagles generally soar at a speed of 28-32 mph (45-51.5 kph). But, the bird's speed can drastically increase when it has to catch prey.

How much does a lesser fish eagle weigh?

The average lesser fish eagle weight is around 27.5-28.2 oz (780-800 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for male and female eagles.

What would you call a baby lesser fish eagle?

A baby lesser fish eagle eaglets.

What do they eat?

These eagles mainly sustain fish caught from various water bodies like ponds, lakes, and streams. This species is known for hunting skills as it perches on a high tree or a rock to observe the prey before flying over the water body to catch the fish. These birds have curved sharp talons and spicules on the toes that help to hold on to the slippery body of a fish.

Are they dangerous?

Even though the lesser fish eagle population stays away from the humans, when irritated, these birds can turn aggressive and attack humans causing serious injuries.

Would they make a good pet?

No, this is a wild bird that should never be kept as a pet.

Did you know...

Formerly, the scientific name of the lesser eagle was Ichthyophaga humilis.

The H. humilis can have a wingspan of up to 47 in (1.2 m) which is double the size of its body.

Different types of fish eagle

There are mainly seven species of the fish eagle, and the lesser fish eagle is one variant. Others include the Gray-headed fish eagle, Steller's sea eagle, African fish eagle, Madagascar fish eagle, Sanford's fish eagle, and Pallas's fish eagle.

Why is it called lesser fish eagle?

This bird is called the lesser fish eagle as it's smaller than the gray-headed fish eagle, which also belongs to the family Accipitridae. And, a fish eagle is named so because of its tendency to primarily feed on fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Sea eagle and Gyrfalcon pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable lesser fish eagle coloring pages.

*The first image is by Subramanya CK.

*The second image is by Shrikant rao.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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