Occurring on every continent except Antarctica, the osprey is the one of the most widespread birds of prey.The plumage of the osprey is generally brown above and white below, with a whitish head and a dark stripe through each eye .The wings are long and pointed and the legs are stout and heavily scaled. Also known as the fish hawk, the osprey exhibits several adaptations to hunting and eating fish, including dense, oily plumage, large feet, scaly soles, and a reversible outer toe that helps with carrying fish through the air.
Ospreys are also known as fish eagles or sea hawks. Male and female are nearly identical, with the female having a stouter body and broader wings. Their golden brown eyes can see fish beneath the waves from heights of 130 feet (40 meters) above the ocean. And now we can watch them up close and personal.
The juvenile is fairly similar to the adult but the head is more darkly-streaked and the upperparts appear scaled with cream and pale rufous. There are four subspecies of the osprey, each occupying a different part of its overall range and differing slightly in size and appearance: Pandion haliaetus haliaetus, P. h. carolinensis, P. h. cristatus and P. h. ridgwayi .
1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009) http://www.iucnredlist.org
2. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
3. CITES (October, 2008) http://www.cites.org
4. Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. (2001) Raptors of the World. Christopher Helm, London.
5. Global Raptor Information Network (June, 2009) http://www.globalraptors.org/grin/SpeciesResults.asp?specID=8308
6. Poole, A.F., Bierregaard, R.O. and Martell, M.S. (2002) Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca. Available at: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna
7. Michigan Natural Features Inventory (June, 2009) http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi