Pandion haliaetus



Powered by Macaulay Library and eBird

Welcome to the Birds of North America Online!

You are currently viewing one of the free species accounts available in our complimentary tour of BNA. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this species.

For complete access to all species accounts, a subscription is required. Subscriptions are available for as little as $5 for 30 days of complete access! If you would like to subscribe to BNA, please visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store or call us at 877-873-2626 (M-F, 8:00-4:00 ET).

Photos from this Account

Adult female Osprey incubating; NY State, May.

Typically the female spends more time incubating than the male, and generally takes the night shift. Males provide all food to females during this period.  Shelter Is., NY.; photographer Alan Poole

Juvenile Ospreys, close to fledging.

Juvenile Ospreys at their nest, 4 Aug 2005, Columbia River, s. Washington. These young are about 50 days old, close to the age of first flight.  ; photographer Gerrit Vyn

Adult female Osprey, with young; Florida, February.

Osprey, adult female (L) and juveniles (R) in nest, Sanibel, FL. Note speckled plumage of the young, a function of pale tips to feathers of back and wing; speckling will disappear in 4-5 months as pale tips wear away, giving a plumage that looks much like that of adults. ; photographer William L. Newton

Newly hatched Osprey chicks.

Newly hatched Osprey chicks, Westport, MA. About 20-30% of the pairs in this population lay 4-egg clutches.; photographer Alan Poole

Adult Osprey; Florida, March

Sanibel I., FL, which holds a significant population of nesting Ospreys, although in March this bird could also be a migrant heading back to northern breeding grounds.  Note fish tail held in left foot. ; photographer William L. Newton

Adult Osprey with fish, Florida.

Ding Darling NWR, FL. Slim appearance suggests this is a male.  ; photographer William L. Newton

Paired Ospreys, adult female (left) and male (right).

Note darker breast band of the female; not all pairs show such differences. Shelter Is., NY, June; photographer Alan Poole

Osprey, adult male at feeding perch

Osprey, adult male at feeding perch; Florida.

Typical Osprey nest site in southern New England.

Artificial nest sites like this one abound in the coastal marshes of southern New England. Because these nests are on small islands, ground predators are generally not a problem -- hence a low, easily-installed nest platform suffices. Westport, MA.; photographer Alan Poole

Adult female Osprey, at its nest, with young about 12 days old. New Jersey, June

, Jun 06, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Adult female Osprey, arranging nest material. New Jersey, May

, May 06, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Adult female Osprey, shading nestlings (about 35 days old) New Jersey, July

, Jul 06, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Adult male Osprey delivering fish to its mate and young; New Jersey, July

, Jul 06, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Adult male Osprey delivering fish to its young, about 45 days old; New Jersey, July

, Jul 20, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Typical Osprey nesting habitat in southern New England.

Typical Osprey nesting habitat in salt marsh estuaries of southern New England. Many pairs nest on low artificial platforms such as that shown here. Westport, MA.; photographer Alan Poole

Adult male Osprey at feeding perch; Massachusetts, July

In open country such as east coast salt marshes, breeding Ospreys like to feed near their nests on raised perches, such as that seen here, and individuals use particular perches faithfully.  Westport, MA, July. ; photographer Alan Poole

Juvenile Osprey, about 50 days old, at its nest; New Jersey, July.

, Jul 20, 2007; photographer Dan Bacon

Adult Osprey carrying fish, Florida.

Sanibel Island, FL. Ospreys generally carry fish with the head forward, for more streamlined flight. Note full crop.  ; photographer William L. Newton

Adult Osprey with trout. Cascade Foothills near Monroe, WA. April

Lake Kayak, Washington; Cascade Foothills near Monroe, WA. April 2008, Apr 03, 2008; photographer cdbtx

Osprey pair, Oyster Pond, Falmouth MA. April.

The following link is to this contributor's Flickr stream or website. http://www.birdsoftheair.com/, Apr 26, 2009; photographer Craig Gibson

Immature Osprey in fall migration.

Immature Osprey on migration, Kiptopeke, VA, 15 Sep 2005.  Note the buffy wash of the underparts, typical of juveniles.; photographer Brian L. Sullivan

Osprey nests in trees are increasingly rare in New England.

Osprey nests in trees are increasingly rare along the northeast coast of the U.S., as artificial nest sites provide more stable and predator-free sites for the species. Note the size of this nest, not unusual for Ospreys nesting in natural sites -- and a significant investment in time and energy for both members of the pair. Shelter Is., NY. May; photographer Alan Poole

Adult Osprey defecating at nest.
Adult male Osprey, with trout; Utah, June.

Probable male carrying Cuthroat Trout; Heber Valley, UT (June 2002). Note how fish is held head-forward, as is typical for this bird. Faint breast band suggests this is a male. ; photographer Jerry and Sherry Liguori

Osprey feet and talons

The "business end" of an Osprey: long claws and spiny pads on feet help secure slippery live fish prey. In addition, the outer toe (here, facing viewer) is reversible, allowing an individual to grip fish with 2 toes forward and 2 back -- providing extra stability.; photographer William L. Newton

Recommended Citation

Bierregaard, R. O., A. F. Poole, M. S. Martell, P. Pyle, and M. A. Patten (2016). Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.683