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The African Fish Eagle

A Biologically Incorrect Exhibit

Site of exhibition: Bird Case in the basement (Z4090)

The African Fish Eagle is a common fish-eater living near the bigger lakes and rivers. It is known for its noisiness ("vocifer") and easily mistaken for the American Bald Eagle which also has a white head but is much bigger.

Our African Fish Eagle sits on a plaice, a northern marine fish. There are several reasons why an African fish eagle cannot catch a plaice. They live in different regions of the world and fish-eating birds of prey are not able to dive for fish living on the seabed.

We are not sure if the taxidermist chose the fish out of ignorance or if he created this composition with a smile. But he was sure to know who had shot the animal. It was Archabbot Norbert Weber at Lake Malawi as is stated in an old inventory register of the museum.

Probably the eagle was skinned on the spot. The skin was sent off on its long ship journey to Germany. The smell during preparation must have been terrible. Possibly the taxidermy was carried out in St. Ottilien. It is documented that taxidermists worked here at the beginning of the 20th century.