Birds have evolved a wide variety of adaptations for feeding on fish. Some behavioral adaptations include plunge diving, surface diving, skimming the surface, spearing, and stealing. Beak shapes are highly varied correlating with the different behavioral adaptations. Fish-eating birds tend to have rear facing hooks on their tongues and a well developed proventriculus, the anterior chamber of the stomach. .

African Fish-Eagle

carrying catfish

African Fish-Eagle b52-2-011.jpg
African Fish-Eagle      Haliaeetus vocifer
Kenya, Lake Baringo

American Dipper

with fish in bill - sculpin

American Dipper s52-14-010.jpg
American Dipper      Cinclus mexicanus
USA; Utah, Wasatch Co


sunfish impaled on bill

Anhinga m17-65-033.jpg
Anhinga      Anhinga anhinga
USA; Florida, Everglades National Park, Monroe Co.


swallowing sunfish

Anhinga m17-65-035.jpg
Anhinga      Anhinga anhinga
USA; Florida, Everglades National Park, Monroe Co.

Atlantic Puffin

head-shot, fish in bill

Atlantic Puffin c26-10-031.jpg
Atlantic Puffin      Fratercula arctica

Atlantic Puffin

flying; fish in beak

Atlantic Puffin e09-3-031.jpg
Atlantic Puffin      Fratercula arctica
United Kingdom; Scotland, Farnes

Bald Eagle

hunting over body of water, fish in talons

Bald Eagle c22-39-018.jpg
Bald Eagle      Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Belted Kingfisher

landing at nest hole with fish

Belted Kingfisher a23-2-003.jpg
Belted Kingfisher      Megaceryle alcyon

Black-faced Spoonbill

large fish in bill

Black-faced Spoonbill h46-6-010.jpg
Black-faced Spoonbill      Platalea minor
Hong Kong, Nam Sang Wai

Black Guillemot

gunnel in bill, fish

Black Guillemot f20-14-040.jpg
Black Guillemot      Cepphus grylle

Black Skimmer

with needlefish in bill

Black Skimmer m17-73-037.jpg
Black Skimmer      Rynchops niger
USA; New York, Nickerson Beach, Point Lookout

Black Vulture

eating dead catfish on beach

Black Vulture f26-4-003.jpg
Black Vulture      Coragyps atratus
Colombia, Camarones


female with fish in bill

Canvasback c22-38-156.jpg
Canvasback      Aythya valisineria

Common Tern

red bill, breeding plumage. With puffer fish in bill.

Common Tern c22-36-123.jpg
Common Tern      Sterna hirundo

Common Tern

juvenile eating Northern Pipefish, Syngnathus fuscus, on beach

Common Tern s36-37-007.jpg
Common Tern      Sterna hirundo
USA; New York, Breezy Point, Gateway NRA

Common Tern

eating fish

Common Tern s79-2-013.jpg
Common Tern      Sterna hirundo
USA; New York, Long Island, Nassau Co., Nickerson Beach

Double-crested Cormorant

eating goldfish

Double-crested Cormorant c22-44-074.jpg
Double-crested Cormorant      Phalacrocorax auritus
USA; Illinois, Chicago, Lincoln Park, North Pond

Double-crested Cormorant

first basic (winter) plumage, large fish in bill

Double-crested Cormorant m17-48-004.jpg
Double-crested Cormorant      Phalacrocorax auritus

Double-crested Cormorant

fish in bill

Double-crested Cormorant m17-48-005.jpg
Double-crested Cormorant      Phalacrocorax auritus

Gray Heron

huge fish in bill

Gray Heron c31-5-130.jpg
Gray Heron      Ardea cinerea
United Kingdom; England, Strumpshaw Fen RSPB, Norfolk

Great Cormorant

eating large fish

Great Cormorant h46-6-039.jpg
Great Cormorant      Phalacrocorax carbo
Hong Kong, New Territories, Nam Sang Wai

Great Kiskadee

fish in bill

Great Kiskadee f20-10-046.jpg
Great Kiskadee      Pitangus sulphuratus
USA; Texas, Hidalgo County

Horned Grebe

fish in beak - juvenile rock bass

Horned Grebe c22-40-117.jpg
Horned Grebe      Podiceps auritus
USA; Illinois, Chicago, Montrose Harbor

Laughing Gull

with needlefish

Laughing Gull m17-67-441.jpg
Laughing Gull      Leucophaeus atricilla
USA; Florida, Fred Howard Park

Laughing Gull

eating catfish tight

Laughing Gull m17-70-276.jpg
Laughing Gull      Leucophaeus atricilla
USA; Florida, Fort DeSoto Park, Pinellas Co.


with fish in talons

Osprey l28-1-025.jpg
Osprey      Pandion haliaetus
USA; New Jersey, Maurice River


fish in talons flounder?

Osprey s80-4-026.jpg
Osprey      Pandion haliaetus
Mexico; Baja Norte, San Felipe


emerging from water - no fish

Osprey t08-16-104.jpg
Osprey      Pandion haliaetus
United Kingdom; Scotland, highlands

Pied-billed Grebe

swallowing fish

Pied-billed Grebe g28-22-002.jpg
Pied-billed Grebe      Podilymbus podiceps
USA; Florida, Boynton Beach, Green Cay Wetlands

Pied Kingfisher

fish in bill

Pied Kingfisher s68-1-100.jpg
Pied Kingfisher      Ceryle rudis
Republic of South Africa, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga Prov.

Pigeon Guillemot

Flying over water with fish in its mouth

Pigeon Guillemot b57-10-125.jpg
Pigeon Guillemot      Cepphus columba
Canada; British Columbia, Victoria

Red-throated Loon

Adult with fish

Red-throated Loon p25-7-117.jpg
Red-throated Loon      Gavia stellata
Finland, Vaala

Ruddy Turnstone

feeding on fish head

Ruddy Turnstone c22-36-282.jpg
Ruddy Turnstone      Arenaria interpres
USA; Texas, High Island

Snowy Egret

baitfish in bill

Snowy Egret m17-70-644.jpg
Snowy Egret      Egretta thula
USA; Florida, Sanibel Island, Lee Co.

Tufted Puffin

head-shot, beak full of fish

Tufted Puffin m17-63-204.jpg
Tufted Puffin      Fratercula cirrhata
USA; Alaska, St. Paul Is, Pribilof Islands

Turkey Vulture

with fish

Turkey Vulture m17-66-127.jpg
Turkey Vulture      Cathartes aura
USA; Florida, Fort Myers, Lee Co.

Western Reef-Heron

with brown eel catfish, Plotusus limbatus in bill

Western Reef-Heron e05-18-080.jpg
Western Reef-Heron      Egretta gularis
Oman, Dhofar