Pandion haliaetus
Family Pandionidiae

A large bird of prey and the only American raptor that plunges into water, the Osprey is often placed into its own family, Pandionidae. It eats almost exclusively fish, and is found on all continents except Antarctica.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • White breast and belly
  • Brownish black back and wings
  • Thick black eyestripe
  • Crown and forehead white
  • Shows dark wrist and secondaries in flight
  • Keeps wings angled slightly backward during flight
  • Juvenile have whitish spotting on the back
  • Size: 54-58 cm (21-23")
  • Weight: 1400-2000 g (49.4-70.6 oz)

Voice: A series of sharp, strained cheep cheep or yewk yewk.

Adult pair  
Adult in flight

Habitat: Rivers, lakes, and coastlines.

Range: The Osprey will most likely be seen all along the Eastern Coast and in the northwest states.

Interesting Facts: The Osprey diet is 99% live fish, making it a fish specialist. The soles of its feet feature barbed pads which help it grip onto slippery fish. When in flight with a fish, the Osprey will carry its prey headfirst so that it will be more aerodynamic.



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