Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds That Eat Fish as Their Primary Diet

Welcome to Week #39 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #39 challenge is birds that eat fish as their primary diet such as birds of prey and shorebirds.

Change in the weekly menu

NOTE: I’ve done a little rearranging of the themes for the next couple of weeks. I changed the monochrome (black & white | sepia) challenge to Week #40 to go in line with Cee’s Anything in Flight Black and White Challenge. See my Bird Weekly page for the changes. I am also taking the week of March 28th off, so no Bird Weekly on April 2nd. Frank and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary that week and will likely be out birding since we are not getting on an airplane anytime soon.

The feature image is a Black Skimmer going in for the kill. I watched him scoop of a fish but I didn’t get the fish in the photo. They are fast eaters.

Some of my photos this week have been in other blogs, not necessarily Bird Weekly, but some are being recycled specifically for this challenge. Not all my birds were caught eating fish, but they are fish eaters. You do not have to show your fish eating birds in the act.


Anhingas are experts at catching fish. They glide through shallow freshwater with only their heads sticking up, resembling a snake. They will dip below the water’s surface after stalking unaware fish, stabbing the fish with their razor sharp bill. Sometimes they are seen drying their wings and one fish gets a little too close and gets plucked out of the water like the fish in the photo above. The wing drying can wait!


Ospreys can be found near open water. Freshwater, brackish and saltwater may be a hunting ground for Osprey. Anywhere fish is plentiful. They can be seen circling high in the sky before diving feet first to grab a fish out of the water. They nest high on poles and or manmade platforms near water. The Osprey in this photo was multitasking. Guess he needed to relieve himself before indulging in lunch.

Great Egret

This Great Egret adorns my Bird Weekly badge. This was a little over a year ago at Fort Desoto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida. This egret decided to raid the bait bucket of a nearby fisherman. Smart! I patiently watched as he slyly pranced up to the bucket. Slowly, methodically, looking around and bam!

Double-crested Cormorant

Similar to the Anhinga, Cormorants have an S-shaped neck and stalk their prey the same way as they glide through the water with only their head up until the right moment for them to snatch their fish. These are new photos that I got a couple of weeks ago at Viera Wetlands. I was so excited because I knew this topic was coming up. Thank you for the cooperation!

Green Heron

This cunning Green Heron will crouch patiently to surprise fish. They are great at camouflaging themselves within their environment and will sometimes lure the fish in with a twig or insects as bait. With that sharp pointed bill, they stab their prey.

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron waits patiently for fish to pop up out of this pipe at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida. I waited and watched for a while, but never caught him in action. It must be plentiful because he was there in the morning and later when we made another pass through 5 hours later in the afternoon.

Royal Tern

Royal Terns fly slowly along coastlines, diving for small fish. A swift daggerlike movement with their sharp bill will yield them a meal. Many times you will see them in large flocks, however, this lone tern was doing things on its own. I watched it come in, snag the fish and play with it for a bit before gulping it down.

Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher can be seen patrolling rivers and shorelines. Their food source is primarily aquatic prey. Their loud high-pitched call is distinguishable and often times will be heard before they dive to catch their fish. They are fast flyers and difficult to photograph.

Black Skimmer

Two Black Skimmers searching for fish along the shore at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. These birds fish by feel, not by site. When they feel a fish in their open beaks, they relax the neck and quickly close their jaws by whipping the fish out of the water. Because they fish like this, they can fish at night as well.


American White Pelicans are larger than the Brown Pelicans but when it comes to fishing, they have different styles. The American White Pelican will land on the water’s surface, dipping their head into the water catching fish and other aquatic prey. The Brown Pelicans plunge dive from high above the sky to catch their fish.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle perched high in a tree at the dam in Ocklawaha, Florida.

Bald Eagles are opportunists. They will hunt for fish and small mammals, but they are more likely to steal already captured fish from an Osprey or smaller Hawk than to go fishing the hard way. They are the National bird of the United States and can be considered the most beautiful pirates in the sky, stealing from those more vulnerable than themselves. Politics!!!! Left this one in here just because it worked perfectly for the challenge.

Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.

Next time…Week #40 – Black and White or Sepia toned photos. Your choice of birds.

81 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds That Eat Fish as Their Primary Diet

  1. I love watch Brown Pelicans fly in a variety of ways – but the white pelican is larger than the brown? Oh my my. Bald Eagles are not common in southwest Ohio, but they do pass through. I watched on swoop down onto a lake, then fly away with a catch. I doubt if I will ever see that again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brown Pelicans are much more comical to watch. Especially the juvenile who are learning to fish. It’s like a toddler taking baby steps. I hope you get to see more Bald Eagles πŸ¦… They are making a comeback. We need to go to Alaska because that’s where we would see the most catching fish. 😊

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  2. Several years ago when we were camped at the Salton Sea we saw waves of pelicans white and the same with the brown. While we the white pelicans often but rarely the brown, we have never seen the same display of pelicans.
    I currently have electronic problems, I need a new one. As the battery on this one slowly going bad, I am not doing many posts, but will do one after I get a new one.

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  3. Love the skimmer photo. I’d like to see one of those one day. The osprey picture cracked me up. At first I thought it was on a slim white leash. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • The skimmers are cool! Last summer, they would sneak up behind me and pass me while walking along the beach. I wouldn’t even hear them coming. Sooo cool! The funniest part of the Osprey was he was looking down, gnawing at the fish, then looked right up at me & took a dump. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  4. Bald (American) Eagles have about the same mentality as vultures, but are prettier to look at. There are quite a few of them nesting along the Merrimack River right before you are in New Hampshire. If you catch anything substantial, an eagles will swoop down and steal it. I guess they see no reason to bother with the effort of catching a fish if you will do it for them. Considering their size and talon strength, no one ever argues with an eagle.

    Down on the Vineyard, you had to watch out for the gulls (all of them, but mostly the Laughing Gulls who were the most aggressive). They would drop by and take the steak right off your grill (an amazing feat — I mean, there’s a FIRE there) or for that matter, the lobster off your dish. A bunch of them could clean up your picnic.

    We ate INSIDE. Eating out on the deck could be perilous to your health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bald Eagles are prettier than a vulture but they have a homely beauty to them. I can believe that about the Laughing Gulls but I’ve never heard of them disturbing a picnic. I guess the Vineyard is such a tourist spots, gulls are like bears in Yellowstone. 😊


  5. I’m always in awe of your gallery of birds, Lisa! That blue heron waiting for fish to pop out of the pipe is quite amazing.
    I just joined a local facebook birding group and hope to get more inspiration. I saw a bald eagle today while driving near our property, but as I zoomed in, he flew away–probably saw me with those “eagle-eyes” LOL! I have a shorebird in sepia for you this Sunday, not great but it works with both themes this week πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Terri! I have a great lens! It’s funny when I bring up my photos from the archives and now, how much better the photos are. Not sure if it is “practice makes perfect” or better equipment. A little of both, maybe! πŸ™‚

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  7. Fishermen in Steamboat Springs, CO warn the tourists to beware the area eagle that steals their catch! He’s very reliable.πŸ¦…

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  9. some great photos right at the moment of conquest; and to think there may have been an eagle close by in very photo just waiting to steal…

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    • Great photo of the Australian Pelican! If you turned your Bald Eagle into a black & white and added some contrast, it would be an awesome silhouette. πŸ™‚


    • If you got the pelican catching a fish, you would have to be in the water filming from below. They plunge dive while swimming on the surface like most ducks. Their way of feeding is similar to the American White Pelican. Only the Brown Pelican plunge dives from high in the sky. πŸ™‚

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  15. I have no idea what happened, but your blog has stopped appearing in my inbox and I’m useless at using the Reader. Hoping to resume service now!

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    • Thanks! You will have plenty of opportunity! I’m sure you will find a theme for all your forgotten birds. I have no doubt they will find a home on one of the weeks. If it is any consolation, I do the same thing, but they come in handy eventually. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you Sarah! I appreciate that. This week isn’t as informative as it is about the experience of where I saw the birds. Next week I’ll get back to more facts. LOL! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Love that! There are other Pelicans like the Australian Pelican that I have never seen and they are like the American White Pelicans. They don’t dive bomb from the sky either. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks so much! We got lucky. They kept flying back and forth, circling and coming back right where we were set up for the afternoon. πŸ™‚


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