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The Osprey, sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching 60 centimetres in length with a 2 m wingspan. It is brown on the upperparts 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.

Overview of the Osprey

Overview of the Osprey

The osprey, also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle is a bird of prey that hunts fish. It is a large diurnal raptor, reaching 2 feet in length with a wingspan of 6 feet. The osprey has a variety of habitats, capable of nesting in any location near a body of water with an adequate food supply. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. Four subspecies are recognized. The osprey is unusual in that a single specie can live all of the world - its perfectly adapted to any diet. Even the differences between species are small.

The diet of an osprey is 99% fish. It typically will catch fish weighing between 5 and 10 ounces, but the weight can increase up to 68 ounces (over 4 pounds). Prey is first sighted when the osprey is 32 to 130 feet above the water. The osprey then hovers, and plunges feet first into the ocean, using its talons to catch its prey.

Ospreys usually mate for life, and only rarely has polyandry been recorded. Ospreys typically live for 7 to 10 years, although some individuals can grow to be between 20-25 years old. The oldest European wild osprey is recorded to have live for 30 years.

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Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website. Jacob also guest writes for Dog Pound

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