Pandion haliaetus




Osprey (Pandionidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pink or white marked with brown and olive.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

35 - 40

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Up to 200 feet above ground, in dead trees.

Nest Material:

Sticks, sod, cow dung, seaweed, rubbish.





Osprey: Large raptor with dark brown upperparts and contrasting white underparts; faint breast band, speckled brown necklace. Intensity varies based on sex and race, males usually less marked. Small white head has dark crown and eye stripe. Bill is dark. Wings are held at a distinct angle in flight; underwing shows barred flight feathers. Wings are fairly long and narrow; wing bends back at carpal joint, giving characteristic shallow V-shape. Legs and feet are gray. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has scaled upperparts, less marked breast band.

Range and Habitat

Osprey: Worldwide distribution except Antarctica; found near large bodies of water. In North America, breeds from Alaska across most of subarctic Canada south to Florida, but not in the Great Plains. Winters in the southeastern U.S. and extreme southern California further south into Mexico and the West Indies.

Breeding and Nesting

Osprey: Three pink or white eggs, marked with olive and brown, are laid in a bulky nest made of sticks built in a large tree; sometimes nests in loose colonies. Incubation ranges from 35 to 40 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Osprey: They feed exclusively on fish, usually twice daily. They forage by flying over water, hovering once prey is spotted, then diving into the water feet-first to grasp prey; sometimes they lay on the water and rest. They forage along coasts in salt-water marshes, lagoons and ponds, estuaries, silted river mouths and coral reefs. Ospreys do not cache food.


Osprey: Utters a short, tuneful whistle. Also makes alarm calls, begging calls, etc., in a voice that is, for the size of bird, most unimpressive.

Similar Species

Osprey: Bald Eagle is larger, holds wings flat in flight, has darker underparts, and a white head and tail.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X