Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle or fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upper parts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts, with a black eye patch and wings.
The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common name suggests, the Osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae.
Fish make up 99% of the Osprey’s diet. They are particularly well adapted to this diet, with reversible outer toes, sharp spicules on the underside of the toes, nostrils that can close to keep out water during dives, and backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch.
People often mistake an osprey for an eagle when seen in flight, but an eagle has much broader wings that are held flat and straight, while an osprey’s wings are much narrower, and gull like.
I don’t have many photos of ospreys, so I am going to use a couple of an osprey in flight from this last summer for now. As the osprey population in Michigan continues to rebound, I hope to add some better ones soon!
This is number ten in my photo life list, only 340 to go!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!