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Grey-Headed-Fish-Eagle Stephen Cooper cropped.jpg
Grey-headed fish eagle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Ichthyophaga
Lesson, 1843

Ichthyophaga humilis
Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus

Ichthyophaga is a genus of two species of eagles, closely related to the sea eagles in the genus Haliaeetus. Both are native to southeastern Asia, from the Indian subcontinent southeast to Sulawesi. They are smaller than the Haliaeetus eagles, though overlapping in size with the smaller species of that genus. They share similar plumage, with grey heads grading into dull grey-brown wings and bodies, and white belly and legs. They differ in tail colour, with the lesser fish eagle having a brown tail, and the grey-headed fish eagle having a white tail with a black terminal band, and also in size, with thelesser fish eagle only about half of the weight of the grey-headed fish eagle.[1]



As both the common and generic names suggest, both species feed largely on fish, caught mainly in fresh water on lakes and large rivers, but also occasionally in salt water in estuaries and along coasts.[1]

Synonymy with a parasitic flatworm[edit]

Syromiatnikova created in 1949 [2] the genus Ichthyophaga for a prolecithophoran turbellarian parasite in fish. Because the genus was preoccupied by Ichthyophaga Lesson, 1843, a replacement name, Piscinquilinus, was proposed in 2005 by Sluys & Kawakatsu.[3] Species of turbellarians previously assigned to Ichthyophaga are thus now placed within Piscinquilinus, and Ichthyophaga subcutanea should now be named Piscinquilinus subcutaneus (Syromiatnikova, 1949) Sluys & Kawakatsu, 2005.


  1. ^ a b del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Sargatal, J., eds. (1994). Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona ISBN 84-87334-15-6.
  2. ^ Syromiatnikova I.P. 1949. A new turbellarian parasitic in fish and called Ichthyophaga subcutanea. Dokl Akad Nauk SSSR 68:805–808 (in Russian)
  3. ^ Sluys R., Kawakatsu M. 2005. A replacement name for Ichthyophaga Syromiatnikova, 1949 (Platyhelminthes: Prolecithophora), with a nomenclatural analysis of its avian senior homonym. Species Diversity, 10, 63-68.