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Eagles for Ivan & Ulla Kruys

Eagles for Ivan & Ulla Kruys
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/5.2, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2009
Theme(s): Wildlife of Africa, Eagle, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Dedications at Trek Nature, 80-89 Points I, Kruger National Park 2, CeltickRanger's favorite Eagle photos, Birds of South Africa 3, My Dedications ;o), Anna's Favourites 1, Fauna of ETHIOPIAN (Africa) Region [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-01-02 3:27
Viewed: 6463
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 90
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African Fish-eagle - Haliaeetus vocifer

This posting is dedicated to two of the mainstays or stalwarts of this site; Ivan Kruys (Argus) and Ulla Kruys (Uleko). Both Ivan and Ulla have been going strong for nearly 4½ years on this site and although they are very knowledgeable, each in their own fields of speciality and expertise, they are some of the most humble people I've ever met. Thank you guys for all you have meant to me personally and to a host of other members here on TrekNature.

This Fish-eagle couple was captured shortly after mid-day, in the harsh Lowveld sun, on the "S79 N'watimhiri Causeway", next to the Sabie River. This is about 13km's from the Lower Sabie rest camp.

It's not everyday that I get the chance to photograph 1 of these beautiful raptors. To be able to capture 2 Fish-eagles perched together in the same tree and being tolerant so I could come close enough to get this shot was like a miracle to me. I've been waiting so long for such a perfect opportunity so I could hardly contain myself when we stumbled upon this pair. The next best thing to the sighting of a Fish-eagle is to hear one calling the characteristic high pitched "kyow-kow-kow" (once heard it is never forgotten). Often, when driving along rivers or waterways one would hear this beautiful and unique sound which is so well known that it is called the "voice of Africa". Unfortunately, frequently one would only see the white dot of its upper body in the distance. This time I got it though.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Chordata (animals with a shared body plan having at some stage in their lives: a notochord, a dorsal neural cord, pharyngeal slits, & a post anal tail)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, & mammals)
CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Accipitriformes (all diurnal birds of prey, but excluding the Falconidae)
FAMILY: Accipitridae (buzzards, eagles, harriers, hawks, kites, & Old World vultures)

Length: (M) 63cm (F) 73cm.
Mass: (M) 2-2.5kg (F) 3.2-3.6kg.
Wing span: (M) 2m (F) 2.4m.

In addition to having a diagnostic call, an African Fish-eagle is unmistakable with its white head and breast, chestnut belly and forewings, black-and-chestnut underwings, and white tail. Overall impression in flight is of a large, broad-winged eagle with a short tail. The hook-shaped beak is mostly yellow with a black tip.

Sexes are alike, but female is larger. Juvenile and immature birds are identifiable by their generally dark brown colouration with white streaks on the head and throat, white patches in the flight feathers, and the diagnostic white tail with a dark terminal band.

As their name implies, they are indigenous to Africa, ranging over most of continental Africa south of the southern-most edge of the Sahara Desert although mostly absent from the arid areas of eastern Somalia and in the southwest of the continent. Found throughout South Africa except in the extreme dry west and particularly common in and around some of the Rift Valley lakes.

This species is still quite common near freshwater lakes, reservoirs, or large rivers, although they can sometimes be found near the coast at the mouths of river estuaries or lagoons.

The African Fish Eagle is usually seen in pairs inside and outside the breeding season, even sharing kills made by either of them. They spend more time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by mid morning.

It feeds mainly on fish, which, upon spying it from a perch in a tree, it will swoop down upon and snatch from the water with its large clawed talons and fly back to its perch to eat. Should it catch a fish over 1.8kg it will be too heavy to allow it to get lift, so it will instead drag the fish across the surface of the water until it reaches the shore. If it catches a fish that is too heavy to even allow the eagle to sustain flight, it will drop into the water and paddle to the nearest shore with its wings. It will also feed on waterfowl, small turtles, baby crocodiles, Greater flamingos, Lesser Flamingos, and carrion. It is classified as a kleptoparasite i.e. it steals prey from other birds.

Breeding season is during the dry season, when water levels are low. African Fish Eagles are believed to mate for life, and pairs will often maintain two or more nests, which they will frequently re-use. Because nests are re-used and built upon over the years the nests can grow to be quite large, some reaching 2m across and 1.2m deep. The nests are placed in a large tree and built mostly of sticks and other pieces of wood.

The female lays 1 to 3 eggs, which are primarily white with a few reddish speckles. Incubation is mostly done by the female, but the male will incubate when the female leaves to hunt. Incubation lasts for 42-45 days before the chicks hatch. The eggs will often hatch a few days apart, and the eldest chick will usually kill any younger chicks. Fledging lasts for 70-75 days and after about 8 weeks the chick is capable of feeding itself and will usually begin to venture outside of the nest 2 weeks later.

Conservation status
Locally common resident. Least concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Source: "The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa" by Ian Sinclair & Phil Hockey, published by Struik Publishers, with additional information found here.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

robmurray, hansh, roges, Jamesp, uleko, Hussain58, robindb, ramthakur, Chiza, ellis49, goatman04, marius-secan, siggi, MMM, jaycee, eng55, nasokoun, anel, Noisette, smitha, Rehanna, Miss_Piggy, Luis52, PaulH, boreocypriensis, tuslaw, CeltickRanger, Mamagolo2, Dyker, Aramok, marhowie, jignasi, waylim, Dis. Ac. has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Animal Behaviouringridshaul 1 06-29 07:33
To CeltickRanger: Aaaah...loot 1 01-07 16:53
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2010-01-02 3:32]

Hello Loot.

This is a great capture of the African Fish-eagle.
Sharpnes, POV and colors are great.
You have managed your photo in a carefully way and gives me the effect that it is a very nice photo to look at.
And with a very nice dedication to Ivan and Ulla, they deserve it.
Thank you for sharing it.

Gr. Hans

Great shot loot,

I share you frustration of having your subject taunting you from out of lens range, with the vultures here in Oman.

Well done on capturing this majestic pair. fantastic shot, interesting read. Many thanks.


  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-01-02 3:39]

Hi Loot,
above all a warm HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!
Health, happiness and only happiness.
At the beginning of the year we have an exceptional picture, congratulations.
What beautiful dedication! I dare say that I like very much eagles. It is impressive to see what might have adjusting to their environment.
From now on we have available a whole year to be able to admire your beautiful photos.
The best thoughts and wishes,

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2010-01-02 3:40]

Hi Loot

A well deserved dedication to Ivan and Ulla.

Lovely shot of this pair of eagles - lovely pose and good detail.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-01-02 3:48]

Thanks for this generous tribute to us Loot!
To capture two African Fish-eagles together in such a high quality shot is a fine achievement and I feel honoured that this is dedicated to us.
Both technical and esthetic aspects are top grade and even if I wanted to find fault with it I couln't. It would have become a favourite without the tribute!
Thanks again!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-01-02 3:51]

Hello Loot,
One of my absolute favorite birds of Africa. Excellent photo in great sharpness and beautiful natural colours. Perfect composition.
A well deserved dedication to Ivan and Ulla.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-01-02 3:55]

Hello Loot
A beautiful scene with beautiful birds...thanks for sharing

Hi Loot,
A wonderful photo and a great dedication. So you might say you can call these eagles Ivan and Ulla.
Their expressions suite the darker sky perfectly and sets the mood for this photo perfectly. I am pleasantly surprised to see that your little camera produced such a good and sharp image. It shows that the most important tool of a photographer are his eyes.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-01-02 4:06]

Hello Loot,
It is a great honour to have this fantastic dedication showing two beautiful Fish-eagles resting together up the top of the tree! I really appreciate this as here we can't even find a common Buzzard and no birds at the food table to rest our eyes on!! No doubt they've all gone south!
These birds of prey look so elegant in profile and their plumage is most impressive. A perfect pale blue background too. Excellent work!
Many thanks and kind regards, Ulla

Hello Loot,
What a befitting tribute to the Kruys couple and their contributions and what an incredible photo to dedicate to them! Really enjoyed this pair sitting in an acacia(just a guess).Both looking in the same direction probably on a fine day. Your effort shows, this is a marvelous capture.Your note was equally informative, very candid and shows your dedication to the work like your gurus. Thanks a lot for sharing this one...hope new year will be faring well for you...take care...warmest regards/Abid

Hi Loot,

Fantastic sighting. I often hear these birds in this area but have not been able to see them never mind photograph them.



What a stroke of luck, Loot! I have never seen two fish eagles together, you are indeed fortunate to get such a unique photo.
These are my favourite birds and this is a really good photo of two of them together.
Well done.

Hi Loot,
It is really providential to get the opportunity to shoot a pair of these regal Fish Eagles sharing the same tree.
Needless to say, you have delivered, and how!
It is brilliant shot of two of them looking in the same direction. As a result, we have very sharp profiles of them with all the details and colours richly displayed.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2010-01-02 6:46]

Hola Loot: Una foto maravillosa y que hermosa especie, no las conocía. Debe ser impresionante poder verlas en vivo.Excelente información también, saludos y feliz 2010...

Hello Loot,

This is an outstanding capture with such majestic colors, details & setting. A great gift to our deserving friends, Ivan & Ulla, on TN. Very well taken, composed & presented.
TFS & best wishes.


Hello Loot,
Exceptional capture. Wonderful composition with the African Fish-eagle.
Lovely colours and great details. Superb sharpness.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-01-02 13:19]

Hello Loot,
A wonderful photo and a great dedication.
great shot! you´ve done a very good job with the colours of this birds. Good use of light also. The details over the wings and the tree are really good. Good POV. well done! Best regards Siggi

Hello Loot,
what a fantastic dedication to our friends Ulla and Ivan, excellent POV, DOF and composition, very beautiful natural colours, i like very much the regal posture of these wonderful birds of prey.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-01-02 15:26]

Hi Loot
Great capture.Good POV and very sharp image in there natural habitat.I like your subject pose.Great text also.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-01-02 16:03]

Hi Loot,

Two Fish-eagles! How lucky can you get? You took full advantage of the opportunity and managed a beautiful shot of the pair posed so nicely on the tree. Colors and details of the faces and feathers are superb. A perfect dedication to Ulla and Ivan - two of the nicest people on TN. And the eagles are perfect for them because they have shown us what they see with their "eagle eyes."


  • Great 
  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2010-01-02 21:29]

Hellow Loot,
Best to you and the family for 2010.
What a shot and well timed to get two eagles perched, The uni coloured sky creating contrast and making for a great BG.We must get together again some time.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-01-02 23:46]

Hi Loot,
Very nice capture of this eagles against the blue sky.I liked colors,proud pose of birds and composition a lot.Lovely dedication for Ulla and Ivan!Have a nice sunday!
Thanks for posting..

hello Loot,
impressive creatures, you cached them in beautiful scene, colors they show well, nice photo output, beautiful dedication!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-01-03 2:23]

Hello Loot,
A very impressive shot of these "royal" birds. I didn't know about these very beautiful African Fish-Eagles. They remind me of the American species with their white head. Perfect focussing on both in their natural habitat and against the blue sky. A dream of a shot. Bravo!
My best wishes too for 2010.
Kind regards

Hi Loot.
Great image of this two wonderful birds.
Congratulations and best regards.Alin.

Hi Loot,
Excellent catch and very nice couple....Notes are great and impressive...Fantastic composition...
All the best in 2010.

Hello Loot
a beautiful couple dedicated for a great couple,
this two African Fish-eagle are really superb, fine pose on this tree and impressive sharp details and superb colors
a fantastic image !
have a good night

Hello Loot,
An excellent and well deserved dedication to Ivan and Ulla. The contribution of this couple to TN is outstanding.
As for the picture ,an impressive composition with a pair of very majestic birds perching on a tree.Lovely natural colours.
very informative notes too.
Thanks for the share,

Dear Loot
At last I am here to critique this great shot. What more can I say that has not already been said by my predecessors? Just the sound of the fish eagle's call gives anybody that loves nature and bird life goose bumps, and being able to capture one high up in a tree from close by creates a thrilling feeling and unbelievable excitement BUT being lucky to capture two of these beautiful birds of prey together in one tree is an incredible feeling that sends shivers down ones spine. You have captured these two so perfectly, the details are clearly seen, especially the prominent yellow face and the sharp edged beaks. A fantastic image and a well worthy dedication to Ivan and Ulla. Thanks for sharing this striking pair of bird of prey. Love you lots and all of the best for 2010.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-01-05 19:26]

Hola Sr. Lott.
Sin duda una muy bella imagen lograda en esta fotografia, no es facil lograr una joya como esta de este par de aguilas que lucen en todo su esplendor sus atributos y colorido. Creo sinceramente que debe ser una grandiosa experiencia el poder disfrutar de todos los seres que viven en ese gran pais donde Ud. vive y que son reordados por muchos años.
Hermosa foto y gran dedicatoria para Sra Ulla Y Sr. Ivan, quienes son un gran soporte a TN.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-01-05 20:54]

Happy New Year, Loot!
Now that is a handsome couple.
Amazingly sharp details.
Great light exposing differentiated shades of colors on the plumage.
Love their intense stares and parallel poses.
Very beautiful eagles.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2010-01-06 12:09]

Hi Loot,
yes, it must have been an amazing experience to be able to see this magniicant pair, let alone capture them so well on camera. My jealousy knows no bounds ;o)
Well composed with them looking into the space of the frame - you made the most of a great opportunity, well done! Great notes too, thanks you.

Ahhhh... MF Loot:)

This posting really incredble, a perfect couple for a perfect couple:)))
Great dedication indeed. Amazingly beautiful and perfect timlely capture from a great POV with impaccable clarity, details and delightful composition.
Hope Anna feel better herself tonight! Do not forget! She has a special place on your head:) (chuckle)
TFS and have a nice night MF!


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-01-06 20:19]

Hello Loot,
At first glance of your thumbnail photo I thought these were Bald Eagles. Wow!! after bringing them up on the screen I now see differently. Awesome coloration and tac sharp detail captured in this shot!! This is the first time I've ever seen this type of eagle, and I must confess that they are a very impressive bird.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-01-07 5:45]

Hi Loot,
wow...what a shot. The sharpness is so wonderful and the contrast is awesome. Very 3D scenery.
Very detail and bery artistic shot with classical composition.
sheer beauty presented in mighty skill.


nice couple, TFS Ori

hello Loot

excellent photography of these African Fish-eagles
and beautiful dedication to Ivan and Ulla, fine POV,
i love that you leaved a good space in front the eagles
and also leaved a good part of the tree (and did not
zoom or approach more), fine focus sharpness details,



Hello Loot,
Stunning image. I like the contrast against the blue sky.They are one of my favorite birds and I love to hear their call.

Hi Loot

What a stunning picture - I find it a shame that I can't see the picture as I write the critque due to the size (or lack of) of my screen. I find that I keep being drawn back to the picture time and time again - it is so very sharp and whatever it was that they were watching it was definitely more interesting than your camera which worked to your advantage.

TFS this wonderful shot.


Very nice shot off this pair, you were lucky to get this close Loot.
I've made two trips to an eagles nest here, and I could only get as close as a roadside fence..I was forced to use stacked teleconverters, not the best setup of course. So when one of the birds actually started flying towards me I pooped my pants.
It flew less than 80 feet directly overhead & landed in nearby field opposite my position to catch a rodent..I was fumbling with my gear when it then flew back over me to return to the nest.
I was not a happy camper.
They had characteristically flown away from the nest & parallel to me up & down a nearby river..So I was caught not only with my pants down, but they were highly soiled as well :-/

Hola Loot,

primero muchas gracias por tus comentarios. Después me gusta la dedicatoria a Ulla e Ivan, este último me es de gran ayuda en ocasiones para la ID de muchos insectos.
Tu toma es desde luego interesante para los que nunca hemos visto a estas grandes aves y además alimentado con una buena explicación de sus costumbres.
Buen enfoque y sobrada profundidad ya que la pareja sale completamente en foco.
El contraluz impisió que pudiéramos ver más claramente el primer plano de las aves, aunque no es mucho problema por la visión del conjunto.

Enhorabuena por esta gran captura, todo un trofeo para el fotógrafo !

Saludos: Josep Ignasi Tejedor.

Hello Loot
when I see this wonderful capture, I looked at it for several minutes. It is really wonderful. models extraordinary, with splendid plumage. sharp focus, composition and exposure-white balance superb. coloration and light using also perfect.
This is also great dedication to our good friend Ivan and Ulla, as like Loot and Anna.
thanks for sharing this beauty. best wishes and good night

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2010-01-11 23:13]

Hello Loot,
First of all thank you so much for your wonderful and in-depth critique to my photo of the penguin. I really appreaciate your opinions and learned from it.
And for this photo, what a wonderful shot, one of the eagle would have been so nice, two just double the pleasure. Fantastic couple here, and you have caputured them in such wonderful pose and beautiful posture, so elegant and proud. Love the details of all elements. Good composition with plenty of open space. excellent shot. My complements.

My dear Friend, Loot

Today I went to check on the renovations in our house in Tzaneen, and as I got out of the car, I heard the well known cry, which sends everybody, Nature lovers as well as trigger-happy tourists, a shiver down the spine!

I have seen many Fish Eagles in the Okavango and never dreamt that one day thanks to the Tzaneen Dam, on which Macadamia is located, two will circle over our house!! I can not wait to move there and watch birds at the dam.

I immediately thought of you and your photo, which I had seen in your portfolio...

Here I am now to tell you - the Fish Eagle is a great bird, and your work in presenting it is also great! It is so difficult to take a perfect photo pointing at the bright African sky, particularly when it involves a bird with white as well as dark feathers such as the Fish Eagle.

We all know of the amazing eyesight of feathered hunters. It is not so appreciated, that the eyes of the Fish Eagle are so sharp, that it can pinpoint a fish beneath the surface of the water below and dive in to catch it!

It is a true pleasure to view your work!

Have a relaxing evening after a hard day with staircases.
Best wishes from a rainy, cold Hoedspruit (like London in November),

Hello Loot,

Today i see this picture and its nice to see this 2 great birds in an perfect view.
I tell nothing about pov etc, you know that by yourself.
Very nice shot and i like your gallery.
You are one of the best here on TN.


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