Osprey

Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus

Did you know: The Osprey is unique among birds of prey for its reversible outer toe, which helps it grasp slippery fish!

What Do Ospreys Look Like? (how to identify them)

Ospreys are majestic birds of prey, identifiable in flight by their white or slightly mottled underparts and angled wings. From below, their wings have a distinctive black patch, a contrast to their white wing linings, making them sometimes mistaken for large gulls. 

Adult ospreys are distinguishable by their deep, glossy brown upperparts and predominantly greyish head and underparts.

Differences Between Male And Female Ospreys

Male and female Ospreys are similar in appearance, but females are generally larger with a more marked brown ‘necklace’ feathering across the chest.

What Do Ospreys Eat?

Ospreys are specialised fish eaters, catching a variety of fish species with their powerful talons. They are known for their dramatic hunting style, diving feet-first into water to grab their prey.

Where Do Ospreys Live? (inc. migration info)

Ospreys are found near bodies of water like lakes and rivers across all continents except Antarctica. In the UK, they breed in Scotland, Wales, and parts of England. 

Most ospreys are migratory, travelling great distances between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Ospreys)

The call of an Osprey is a series of sharp whistles, often described as “cheep, cheep” or “yewk, yewk.” This call becomes more frenzied when they are disturbed near their nests.

Fun Osprey Facts (kid friendly)

  • Ospreys can dive up to one metre underwater to catch fish.
  • They can close their nostrils when diving into water.
  • Ospreys mate for life and often return to the same nest year after year.
  • An Osprey’s nest, called an eyrie, is usually built high in a tree or on a cliff, often near water.
  • They migrate thousands of kilometres from the UK to West Africa every year.
  • Ospreys have a wingspan of up to 170 cm, making them one of the largest birds of prey in the UK.
  • They can live up to 20 years or more.
  • Ospreys use their unique reversible outer toe to grip slippery fish.
  • In flight, they have a distinct M-shape due to the bend in their wings.
  • Young Ospreys have buff fringes on their upperparts and a more buff tone on their underparts compared to adults.

Osprey Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Osprey

Diet: Fish.
Bird Family: Osprey
Length: 52-60cm
Wingspan: 145-170cm
Weight: 1.2-2kg
Scientific Name: Pandion haliaetus

The Osprey Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October