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.
Osprey: Bald Eagle is larger with an entirely white head and tail, and dark underparts and underwings.