Identification - Pictures and
(Pandion haliaetus), also called Fish or Sea hawk is about 23 to 24 1/2 inches.
large majestic hawk dives in the water for fish, becoming completely submerged. The head is
mostly white with a white crest, and a black mask through the eyes. It
is blackish above, and clear-white below. The tail has
alternating brown, and white bands.
The sexes look similar.
wing span is reaches 6 feet. It flies with a crook in
its wing showing a black carpal patch contrasting with the mostly whitish
under side of its wings.
The Osprey's large strong talons are designed for catching, and carrying
fish. They have four toes. The outer toe can be rotated so that it extends to the rear of the foot
allowing them to seize fish with two claws on each side of the
Photos by Keith Lee. The camera I
use is the Canon
EOS 40D and a 70 to 300 zoom lens.
Video below is an Osprey flying over a river
and diving in. For
other bird videos please visit our Youtube channel and
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Most videos on my site were taken with the Canon
This member of the raptor family is one of the widest
spread birds of prey, and is found on every continent
except Antarctica. The summer range for American birds
extends from Alaska across Canada, and parts of the U.S.,
migrating south in winter.
It lives near bodies of water with fish in them, such as
Rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and along the coast.
Breeding and Nesting
At the start of mating season Ospreys do air displays where
the male repeatedly flies high into the air, hovers for a few
seconds, and dives. The female may participate in this while pursuing
the male. Osprey pairs do courtship feeding while in
flight. They usually pair for life.
They build large nest on dead trees, artificial
structures such as utility poles, or the many nesting platforms
put up for them by man. The nest consists of branches lined with
grass, twigs, moss, bark, and other materials such as ropes,
cloth, or plastic. Once it is constructed the nest will
usually be used year after year with more branches added each
year often resulting in huge nests.
After the female lays 2 to 4 creamy-white eggs with
reddish-brown spots, both birds will incubate them for 32 to 38 days. The female will
stay with newly hatched young while the male brings
food. When the young birds can be left alone both parents will
bring food. Young birds will fledge in around 45 days.
Sound of Osprey
A chirping sound, often loud.
Ospreys hover over the water, and when a fish is spotted
they plunge feet first to grab it. When in flight they
will turn the head of the fish forward allowing for more streamlined
transport through the air. Although they feed mostly on
fish, they will eat small animals if fish are scarce.
To learn about other favorite
birds click here.