(adjective) Describes a carnivorous diet that consists largely of fish, though a piscivorous diet may also include similar aquatic foods such as aquatic insects, mollusks and crustaceans. Piscivorous birds are equipped with specialized bills to capture fish either by spearing them with a sharp tip or catching them with ridged edges. Sharp, strong talons can also help some fish-eating birds capture their prey.
Many piscivorous birds will plunge dive from the air to capture their prey, while waders will stalk their prey carefully before spearing it. Depending on the bird species and the size of the prey, the fish may be swallowed whole or ripped into pieces for easier eating. Examples of piscivorous birds include the osprey as well as terns, cormorants, albatrosses and penguins, and many types herons, pelicans and gulls are at least partially piscivorous, though less discriminating in their diets.
Because several types of piscivorous birds, such as cormorants, are colonial nesting birds, they can cause problems with local fishing communities as hundreds of birds may deplete the fish available for sport. To manage the bird populations, wildlife officials may cull large colonies to help balance wildlife needs with recreational needs.
Because they depend on the water for food, piscivorous birds are highly susceptible to water pollution, including oil spills. Discarded fishing line and litter can also be dangerous hazards for these fish-eating birds.
Photo - Double-Crested Cormorant © Kevin Cole
Fish-Eating, Piscivore (noun)