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79. Madagascar Fish-eagle

Haliaeetus vociferoides


This fish-eagle is by far the largest bird of prey found in Madagascar – a global biodiversity hotspot.

This species is part of the genus Haliaeetus is thought to be one of the oldest living, avian genera, with some fossil evidence suggesting it was present in the Oligocene, 33.9 million to 23 million years. The closest relative of the Madagascar Fish-eagle is the African fish-eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer, and together they form a pair lineage distinct from other members of the genus. This pair diverged soon after the separation of the genus from the rest of the Accipitridae family. Research has shown that reproductive output in this species is low as typically, one or two eggs are laid and only one offspring is raised, as the strongest chick tends to kill the weakest (siblicide). This species mainly feeds on fish, therefore putting it into direct competition with the Malagasy fishermen. This has led to the persecution of this species through the taking of nests, shooting of adults but also the accidental entanglement in fishing-nests. Deforestation, soil erosion and the development of wetland areas for rice-paddies is causing the on-going loss of nesting and foraging habitat. There is an ongoing conservation programme with the aim to increase the known breeding population to at least 250 pairs. Activities include the enforcement of existing traditional laws at the local community level and also the release of captive-reared birds rescued from siblicide. Their range has now become part of a protected area.

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Population: 360
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 70-80cm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.02 (?)
ED Score: 8.42 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


The species found along the west coast of Madagascar.

Habitat and Ecology

This species favours dry, deciduous forest alongside aquatic habitat. It nests in mangroves and prefers areas with large trees from which it can scan for prey in the water. This species feeds mainly on fish. Breeding season runs from May to October.

Find out more

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This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Crops Hunting Logging Fishing Agriculture

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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