Osprey

Pandian haliatus (sea eagle)
Prepared by: 
Bob Walton
  • Length: 22-23 inches
  • Wingspan: 57-70 inches
  • Weight: male 1200-1600 gm, female 1600-2000gm 

White head, breast and belly.  Brown stripe through eye; females have a speckled brown necklace.  Wings and back brown and tail is barred.  In flight, the wings are long and narrow; the wing bends back at the carpal joint (wrist), giving a characteristic shallow v-shape, and at the bend, there are conspicuous dark wrist patches.  Immatures have pale buff edging above. 

 

Subspecies: 
4 recognized; P.h. carolinensis is the only US subspecies.
Distribution: 
Worldwide; in NA, from Alaska across Canada to Labrador and south to Florida and Arizona.
Habitat: 
Near or on shallow waters—fresh, brackish, or marine. Nests along lakeshores, seashores, marshes, and rivers. Highest densities near salt water.
Feeding: 
Almost exclusively live fish, 150-300 grams in weight. Makes dramatic dives from 10-40 meters, but seldom goes much below surface of water. Secures fish in talons before flying off.
Breeding: 
Nest is a large collection of sticks and flotsam, usually wedged high in an exposed tree; also nests on cliffs, power poles, buoys, specially designed platforms, and on the ground of predator free islands. Clutch 1-4 eggs.
Movements: 
Northern birds winter south to Peru and Brazil. Fall migration occurs in September with spring migration taking place in mid April.
Status: 
Frequent to abundant. Recovering strongly after numbers were reduced by the improper use of pesticides.