Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Accipitridae / Pandion / Species
Pandion haliaetus - Osprey (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Visarend (Dutch)
  • Balbuzard pêcheur (French)
  • Fischadler (German)
  • Falco pescatore (Italian)
  • Aguila pescadora (Spanish)
  • Fiskgjuse (Swedish)

Names for newly-hatched

Chick

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

 

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B162, B163, B164, B165, B166

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Birds of Prey

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Birds of Prey

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Aviculture Information

Notes

 
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length
  • 55-58cm (tail 14-21cm) (B162)55cm (B165); 52-60cm (B164).
  • Wingspan: 145-170cm (B162); 152-167cm (B164).
  • Female 5-10% larger than male (B162).
Adult weight General  
Male 1120-1740g (B162).
Female 1208-2050g (B162).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Blackish, with cere blue-grey (B164, B166).
Variations (If present)  
Eyes Male Yellow (B164).
Variations(If present)  
Juvenile Bill Grey (B164).
Eyes (Iris) Orange (B164).

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Legs

Adult Male Blue-grey (B162, B165, B166).
Variations (If present)  
Juvenile Blue-grey (B165)

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Head: small, with long neck. Head slightly crested, white with broad dark eyestripe continuing backwards down neck.
  • Dorsal (upperparts): Uniform brown or grey-brown.
  • Ventral (underparts): whitish, with breastband brown.
  • Wings: long, narrow with four 'fingers". upperside brown. Underside whitish, with carpal patch blackish, greater coverts blackish forming line, secondaries dark with indistinct barring, primaries black tipped.
  • Tail: short, square cut upperside dark brown/grey-brown, banded; underside pale grey with darker bands and wide terminal band.

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Female:
  • Underparts: breastband more distinct (B164, B165).
Juvenile
  • Head: crown white with dark streaks.
  • Upperparts: feathers pale-tipped.
  • Wings: upperside coverts pale edged. Underside greater coverts cross-barred, secondaries pale with coarse dark barring.
  • Tail: underside finely cross barred.

(B162, B164, B165)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi altricial; downy, helpless, eyes open (B163, B166).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year March to June (B166).
  • Fenno-Scandia, Scotland, south-east Europe: eggs laid from middle of April onwards.(B162).
  • North of 66°N: eggs laid mid May to early June (B162).
  • Mediterranean: eggs laid mid March onwards (B162).
  • Cape Verde Islands: eggs laid January (exceptionally December) to early March (B162).
No. of Clutches One (B162, B163, B166).

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Nest placement and structure

  • Solitary, although may be relatively close together in good habitat.
  • In tree, particularly coniferous trees.
  • Nests at top of tree, using stout side branch or crown.
  • 10-30m off ground.
  • Also on cliffs and rock pinnacles.
  • Occasionally nest in a ruined building, a low bush or on the ground.
  • Artificial platforms on poles used in North America.
  • Large pile of twigs and branches.
  • Lining of small twigs, moss, bark, grass.

(B162, B163, B164, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 2-3 (B162, B163); 3 (B166).
Range 1-4 (B162, B163).
Egg description
  • Long oval, slightly glossy, white or creamy with heavy dark brown/ red-brown blotching/spotting, 62mm long (B163).

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Incubation

34-40 days, average 37 days (B162, B163); 35-38 days (B166).

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Hatching

Asynchronous (B163).

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Fledging

49-57 days, average 53 days (B162, B163); 51-59 days (B166).

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Sexual Maturity

Males  
Females  

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults
  • Hover and shallow swoop, with final dive feet forwards and wings half-folded.
  • Carries fish up to tree to eat, usually with head of fish pointing forwards.

(B162, B163, B164, B166).

Newly-hatched

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building
  • By both sexes (B163).
Incubation
  • By both birds, but more by female (B163, B166).
Newly-hatched
  • Fed by female, with male bringing food (B163).
Juveniles

--

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Solitary and sometimes loosely gregarious:
  • congregations of up to 25 birds may form at some hunting sites outside breeding season;
  • sometimes migrate in small groups (up to 9 birds).

(B162, B163)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous; rarely bigamous
  • Seasonal pair bond, but may be long-term - strong site and mate fidelity.
  • Displays include high circling above nest, steep descents and steep climps with male holding fish or branch in talons.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild

--

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Activity Patterns

  • Perches openly.
  • In flight hovers, soars, glides and dives.

( B166)

Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Fish (B162, B163, B164, B165, B166)

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Newly-hatched

--

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Europe (mainly Scandinavia and eastern areas), central and southern Siberia eastwards to Pacific coast, Kamkatcha and Japan and patchily south to Red Sea, Gulf Coast, Himalayas, Australia. North America as far south as Central America and West Indies.
  • Britain: breeds in Scotland (particularly central Highlands) (about 100 pairs: B164); otherwise passage and summer visitor (March or April to September or October).

Migration:

  • Migratory; move south for winter.
  • European and Siberian individuals winter mainly sub-Saharan Africa; also North Africa, Iraq, Persian Gulf, and Mediterranean, arriving late September to October and returning in March/April.

(B162, B164, B165, B166)

Occasional and Accidental Iceland, Faeroes, Ireland, Azores, Madiera (B162).
Introduced

 

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Habitat

Breeding:
  • Breed in areas near water (require clear unpolluted water - freshwater lakes and rivers, also coastal brackish waters and in Mediterranean salt water), with trees or cliffs available for nesting.

Winter:

  • Other large waters used in winter.

(B163, B164, B165, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

--

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)
  • Lost from much of Europe due to persecution, but recolonisation of some areas more recently (B162, B163).

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
  • This species is listed on Schedule 4 (Birds which must be registered and ringed if kept in captivity: Notes on the revised schedules state "Any bird, one of whose parents or other lineal ancestor was a bird of a kind specified in the above list") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats Persecution, disturbance, loss of nest sites (B162, B163)

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Captive Populations

--

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Trade

--

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