Pandion haliaetus

The Osprey is a large bird of prey found on all the world’s continents, except for Australia and Antarctica. Worldwide, there are four recognised subspecies of this raptor. One of these, living in Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea and the Philippines, was recently given full species status; the Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus). The North American member of this tribe is P. haliaetus carolinensis.

These birds weigh about the same as a Red-Tailed Hawk, but rather than the 48 inch wingspan of the hawk, theirs is almost 60 inches. Their wings seem almost double-jointed as they lift themselves from the water after a successful catch.

Its diet is almost entirely comprised of fish. While most other raptors snag fish from the surface of the water, this bird plunges feet first into the water to secure its meal. They are one of the most successful creatures at catching fish, making catches on 25% to 70% of their attempts. Their feet have adapted to pivot one of their toes to the rear, and raspy pads to help with gripping its slippery prey.

Click map markers to reveal further information