Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

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  • Osprey |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
  • Osprey |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
  • Osprey |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
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Osprey Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Accipitriformes

Family

Pandionidae

Size

Osprey are generally between 21.25 and 23 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 25 years

Weight

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) facts, habitat, range, osprey pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the bird of prey.

Diet

Fish

Behavior

Aerial Dive

Range

Migratory: Nationwide

Nest Placement

Tree

Number of Offspring

2–5 Eggs

Egg Description

Cream White to pinkish with reddish spots

Condition at Hatching

Semi-active, eyes open, down covered

Social Status

Solitary, Pairs

Wingspan

59–71 in

Observation Tips

Take a hike along a trail running next to a pristine lake or river with plenty of fish.

What does the Osprey look like?

Ospreys are large striking birds of prey. They are a dark brown overall with clean white patches on the throat and crown. They have sharply downward hooked bills and glowing yellow eyes.

Osprey Habitat

Lakes-Ponds

Osprey Facts

Ospreys are water loving birds of prey. They feed primarily on fish and are excellent anglers. Their success rate can crest 70 percent. They are unique amongst hawks in that their outer toes are reversible. This allows them to grip fish with two toes in the front and two in the back, which with barbed pads on their feet ensures slippery snacks, do not escape. When hunting they will circle above prey, hover, then dive lightning fast talons first. They often nest on manmade structures such as telephone poles. Osprey nestlings do not hatch all at once, rather over a period of several days. If food is scare the older chicks will dominate their younger siblings who will often starve to death. Many Ospreys have a very long migration from South America to the northern parts of North America. There are three subspecies. Ospreys are the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, Canada.

See also