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Lesser Fish-eagle Icthyophaga humilis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species depends on forest-fringed waterbodies with good stocks of fish. It is thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction owing to forest degradation, over-fishing and perhaps especially, pollution, and may already have a moderately small population. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
The genus Icthyophaga (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously spelled Ichthyophaga.

Ichthyophaga humilis

Distribution and population
Ichthyophaga humilis occurs in India (restricted to Himalayan foothills and north-east, with an additional small population in Karnataka state in the south [Lethaby 2005]; declining in range and population), Bangladesh, Nepal (rare and local in lowlands), Bhutan (very rare at lower altitudes), China (rare visitor to Hainan), Myanmar (widespread, scarce to locally fairly common), Thailand (rare in west and south), Cambodia (recently recorded - status unclear [P. Davidson in litt. 2003]), Laos (small numbers persist in several catchments, although fragmentation of populations and their small size renders them vulnerable to local extinction), Vietnam (rare to locally fairly common in west Tonkin and south Annam), Peninsular Malaysia (previously common; now scarce to locally fairly common but declining) and east Malaysia, Brunei (scarce), Indonesia (uncommon in Sumatra and Borneo; locally common in south-east Sulawesi, uncommon to rare elsewhere, and in the Sula islands and Buru) (BirdLife International 2001).

Population justification
The global population is preliminarily estimated to number 10,000-50,000 mature individuals, pending further research. This is roughly equivalent to 15,000-75,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification
A moderately rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of rates of habitat loss and degradation.

It frequents large forested rivers and wetlands in the lowlands and foothills up to 2,400 m, but usually below 1,000 m.

Loss of forest habitat along rivers, siltation, over-fishing and increasing human disturbance of waterways are causing widespread declines. It is also declining in Uttar Pradesh, India, partly because of pesticide use and this is presumably relevant throughout much of its range.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to reveal important areas and regularly monitor at various sites throughout its range. Protect forest in areas known to be important to the species. Research the link between pesticide use and the decline.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Lethaby, N. 2005. The occurrence of Lesser Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis on the Cauvery River, Karnataka, India and some notes on the identification of this species. BirdingASIA: 33-38.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

Davidson, P., Naoroji, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Icthyophaga humilis. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Müller & Schlegel, 1841)
Population size 10000-50000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,920,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species