33 Birds that Eat Fish (A to Z List with Pictures)

Birds that Eat Fish

Examples of birds that eat fish include African Fish-Eagle, American Dipper, Anhinga, Atlantic Puffin, and Bald Eagle.

Birds that eat fish can be found all over the world. Some birds, like crows and herons, are known for their fishing techniques. Others, like gulls and terns, scavenge for leftovers from fishermen.

Some of these birds, like the osprey, are very well known for fishing.

There are a number of reasons why birds might choose to eat fish. In some cases, it may simply be due to the availability of fish in that particular location. In other cases, there may be specific benefits to eating fish compared to other animals.

Examples of Birds that Eat Fish

1. African Fish-Eagle

Scientific NameHaliaeetus vocifer
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSub-Saharan Africa

The African fish-eagle is one of the most well-known birds that eat fish. This large raptor is found throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa and has a wide range of feeding behaviors, depending on the location and season.

One of the most interesting aspects of the African fish eagle’s relationship with fish is that it will often steal prey from other animals, including other birds, crocodiles, and even humans.

2. American Dipper

Scientific NameCinclus mexicanus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America and Central America

One of the lesser-known birds that eat fish is the American dipper. This medium-sized bird has a wide range and can be found throughout North America. It typically chooses to live near water, as this allows it to forage for food in freshwater streams and rivers.

3. Anhinga

Scientific NameAnhinga anhinga
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSouth Carolina westward to Texas

The anhinga is a water bird found throughout the Americas. This bird feeds almost entirely on freshwater fish, using its long and sharp beak to spear them from the surface of the water. As it hunts, this bird prefers to stay low over the water, keeping most of its body under the surface and only exposing its head when it dives for fish.

4. Atlantic Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula arctica
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Puffin is a species of seabird that is found along the coasts of North America and Europe. These birds are known for their distinctive appearance, which includes their brightly colored beaks and webbed feet. Atlantic Puffins primarily eat small fish, such as herring and sand eels.

5. Bald Eagle

Scientific NameHaliaeetus leucocephalus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The bald eagle is a common sight in the United States and Canada. The birds are known for their impressive fishing techniques, which can include carrying fish back to their nest or diving into the water to catch them directly.

Bald eagles have sharp talons that they use to capture fish with ease. They also have large, powerful beaks that provide them with the necessary leverage to eat their prey.

6. Belted Kingfisher

Scientific NameMegaceryle alcyon
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMexico and Central America

These birds are found in most of the United States and can be seen diving into the water to catch fish. They are also known for eating insects, frogs, and even lizards.

7. Black Guillemot

Scientific NameCepphus grylle
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The black guillemot is a bird that can be found in both coastal and inland areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe. They are able to dive into deep water up to depths of 50 meters to catch fish. This allows them to eat prey that is often too large or difficult for other birds to capture.

8. Black Skimmer

Scientific NameRynchops niger
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecoastal areas in Florida

This bird has a very distinctive appearance, with a black top and white underside. It is found in coastal areas of North and South America. The Black Skimmer uses its long, thin lower beak to skim the surface of the water for small fish.

9. Black Vulture

Scientific NameCoragyps atratus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenortheastern United States

The black vulture is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, found throughout a variety of habitats ranging from forests and grasslands to coastal areas. Like many other birds, the black vulture has adapted specialized hunting techniques for catching fish.

10. Black-Faced Spoonbill

Scientific NamePlatalea minor
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMacau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam

One particularly interesting bird that eats fish is the black-faced spoonbill. This unique wading bird is found in Southeast Asia, where it uses its long, spatulate bill to capture small fish and crustaceans from the water’s surface.

Unlike many other birds that eat fish, the black-faced spoonbill has unusually long legs, which allow it to wade deep into the water. This gives it a distinct advantage over other species that must remain near the surface in order to successfully hunt for their prey.

11. Canvasback

Scientific NameAythya valisineria
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The canvasback is a large duck that is found in North America. It feeds primarily on aquatic plants, but it will also eat fish if they are available.

Read Also: How Much Does a Duck Cost?

12. Common Murre

Scientific NameUria aalge
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAlaska to California

The Common Murre is a seabird that can be found along the coastlines of North America and Europe. These birds eat small fish, such as herring and anchovies.

13. Common Tern

Scientific NameSterna hirundo
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecoastal Florida

The common tern is a type of bird that is well known for its fishing abilities. These birds can be found all over the world, from coastal areas to lakes and rivers. They are particularly adept at catching small fish using their long, pointed bills.

14. Double-Crested Cormorant

Scientific NamePhalacrocorax auritus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAtlantic Ocean

The Double-Crested Cormorant is a fish-eating bird that can be found throughout much of the world. These birds are known for their long, slender necks and webbed feet, which help them to dive under the water in search of prey.

15. Emperor Penguin

Scientific NameAptenodytes forsteri
Type of AnimalBird

These birds are found in the Antarctic and eat a diet that is almost entirely fish. In fact, they spend so much time hunting for fish that they only come ashore to mate and raise their young.

16. Gray Heron

Scientific NameArdea cinerea
Type of AnimalBird
RangeEurope and Asia

The gray heron is one of the most well-known birds that eat fish. This large, graceful bird is found all over the world, from Africa to Asia and Europe to North America. Although it has many hunting strategies, including stalking its prey on land or snatching them out of the water, herons are particularly skilled at using their long, spear-like bills to catch fish.

Related Article: Do Gray Heron Have Long Legs?

17. Great Cormorant

Scientific NamePhalacrocorax carbo
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

One of the most proficient fishing birds, the great cormorant is found on every continent except Antarctica. These birds have long necks and large webbed feet that help them dive deep into the water in search of fish. Once they catch their prey, they bring it to the surface and swallow it whole.

18. Great Kiskadee

Scientific NamePitangus sulphuratus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern Texas

Great kiskadees are found in the Neotropics, from southern Arizona and Texas south through Central America to northern Argentina. They primarily eat insects, but will also eat small vertebrates, fruits, and seeds.

19. Horned Grebe

Scientific NamePodiceps auritus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

There are many different species of birds that eat fish, including the Horned Grebe. This bird is native to North America, and it can be found in a number of freshwater habitats and even along the coastline. The Horned Grebe mainly eats smaller fish, such as minnows and sticklebacks.

20. Laughing Gull

Scientific NameLeucophaeus atricilla
Type of AnimalBird
RangeFlorida and at Salton Sea, California

The laughing gull is a seagull that can be found all along the coast of North America. It gets its name from its characteristic call, which sounds like laughter. These birds are known for their scavenging habits, and they will often steal food from other birds or humans. They will also eat just about anything, including fish, insects, and garbage.

Read Also: 28 Birds that Look Like Seagulls

21. Northern Gannet

Scientific NameMorus bassanus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The northern gannet is a large seabird that can be found in the North Atlantic Ocean. These birds have a wingspan of up to 2.3 meters and they can weigh up to 4 kilograms. The northern gannet is mostly white with black wingtips. These birds dive into the water to catch fish. They can dive from heights of up to 100 feet and can plunge at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

22. Osprey

Scientific NamePandion haliaetus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAlaska to Nova Scotia

Ospreys are large birds that are often found near bodies of water. Many types of fish can be found in the osprey’s diet, including salmon and trout. These birds typically feed by swooping down on the surface of the water and grabbing a fish with their talons.

23. Pied Kingfisher

Scientific NameCeryle rudis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesub-Saharan Africa

One species of bird that is particularly well-known for its fishing habits is the pied kingfisher. This beautiful bird can be found all over the world, from Africa to Asia to Australia. It has long, sharp beaks that are perfectly suited for catching and eating fish.

24. Pied-Billed Grebe

Scientific NamePodilymbus podiceps
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The pied-billed grebe is a small waterbird that can be found in North and South America. It is an excellent fisher, and will often dive below the water surface to catch fish. The pied-billed grebe has a number of adaptations that help it to be a successful fisher.

25. Pigeon Guillemot

Scientific NameCepphus columba
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Pacific coastal waters

These birds are known to eat a variety of fish, including herring, anchovies, and sardines. They are found in coastal regions all over the world.

26. Red-Throated Loon

Scientific NameGavia stellata
Type of AnimalBird
RangeArctic regions

The red-throated loon is a type of bird that is commonly found in the Arctic. These birds eat fish as their primary source of food. They use their long, pointy beaks to spear the fish and then swallow them whole.

27. Ruddy Turnstone

Scientific NameArenaria interpres
Type of AnimalBird
Rangearctic tundra

The ruddy turnstone is a small, shorebird that can be found on the coasts of North America, Asia, and Europe. This bird feeds by flipping over rocks on the beach and searching through the mud underneath for small fish. They have specially adapted beaks that allow them to easily find their prey in this way.

28. Snowy Egret

Scientific NameEgretta thula
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe United States

The snowy egret is a beautiful bird native to the Americas. It can be found in marshlands, ponds, and other wetlands, where it uses its long bill to catch fish for food. The snowy egret typically eats small fish that are about one inch long or smaller.

29. Stellar’s Sea Eagle

Scientific NameHaliaeetus pelagicus
Type of AnimalBird

This is a fish-eating bird that can be found in parts of the Arctic Sea. It has very strong talons and large wings, which give it the ability to fly great distances quickly. Its diet consists mostly of salmon, though it will also eat other types of fish as well as marine mammals like seals and walruses.

30. Tufted Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula cirrhata
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenorthern Pacific Coast

The tufted puffin is a bird found in coastal regions around the world. This unique bird has specialized adaptations that allow it to successfully catch and eat fish. The tufted puffin uses its large, hooked beak to grab prey out of the water, and its powerful wings to dive underneath the surface.

31. Turkey Vulture

Scientific NameCathartes aura
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern Canada

The turkey vulture is a scavenger that will eat just about anything, including fish.

32. Wandering Albatross

Scientific NameDiomedea exulans
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSouthern Ocean

These birds have the largest wingspan of any living bird, and they use that to their advantage when it comes to fishing. They can glide for long periods of time without flapping their wings, which means they can cover a lot of ground in search of fish.

33. Western Reef-Heron

Scientific NameEgretta gularis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewestern Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf

The Western Reef-Heron is a type of heron that lives in coastal areas throughout the world. These birds are known for their fishing abilities, and they often hunt in groups.


Birds that eat fish can be found all over the world. These birds have evolved unique ways of catching their prey, from diving into the water to scoop up fish with their long beaks to spearing them from the surface. Some birds, such as the cormorant, are even waterproof after they dive for fish. All of these birds rely heavily on fish as part of their diet, and without them, they would not be able to survive.

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