Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

The osprey or more specifically the western osprey — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm in length and 180 cm across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.
Osprey Mom & Babes Taken on Estero Island on Gulf of Mexico, SW Florida, USA Osprey,Pandion haliaetus

Appearance

The osprey is 0.9–2.1 kg in weight and 50–66 cm in length with a 127–180 cm wingspan. It is, thus, of similar size to the largest members of the ''Buteo'' or ''Falco'' genera. The subspecies are fairly close in size, with the nominate subspecies averaging 1.53 kg, ''P. h. carolinensis'' averaging 1.7 kg and ''P. h. cristatus'' averaging 1.25 kg . The wing chord measures 38 to 52 cm, the tail measures 16.5 to 24 cm and the tarsus is 5.2–6.6 cm.

The upperparts are a deep, glossy brown, while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white. The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck. The irises of the eyes are golden to brown, and the transparent nictitating membrane is pale blue. The bill is black, with a blue cere, and the feet are white with black talons. A short tail and long, narrow wings with four long, finger-like feathers, and a shorter fifth, give it a very distinctive appearance.


The sexes appear fairly similar, but the adult male can be distinguished from the female by its slimmer body and narrower wings. The breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, or is non-existent, and the underwing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale. It is straightforward to determine the sex in a breeding pair, but harder with individual birds.

The juvenile osprey may be identified by buff fringes to the plumage of the upperparts, a buff tone to the underparts, and streaked feathers on the head. During spring, barring on the underwings and flight feathers is a better indicator of a young bird, due to wear on the upperparts.

In flight, the osprey has arched wings and drooping "hands", giving it a gull-like appearance. The call is a series of sharp whistles, described as ''cheep, cheep'' or ''yewk, yewk''. If disturbed by activity near the nest, the call is a frenzied ''cheereek''!
Pandion haliaetus Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Bird of prey,Osprey,Pandion haliaetus,birds

Naming

The genus name ''Pandion'' derives from the mythical Greek king of Athens and grandfather of Theseus, Pandion II. Although Pandion II was not used to name a bird of prey, Nisus, a king of Megara, was used for the genus. The species name ''haliaetus'' comes from Ancient Greek ''haliaietos'' from ''hali-'' , "sea-" and ''aetos'' , "eagle".

The origins of ''osprey'' are obscure; the word itself was first recorded around 1460, derived via the Anglo-French ''ospriet'' and the Medieval Latin ''avis prede'' "bird of prey," from the Latin ''avis praedæ'' though the Oxford English Dictionary notes a connection with the Latin ''ossifraga'' or "bone breaker" of Pliny the Elder. However, this term referred to the Lammergeier.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle enjoying his meal  Australia,Osprey,Pandion haliaetus

Distribution

The osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the peregrine falcon. It has a worldwide distribution and is found in temperate and tropical regions of all continents except Antarctica. In North America it breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland south to the Gulf Coast and Florida, wintering further south from the southern United States through to Argentina. It is found in summer throughout Europe north into Ireland, Scandinavia, Finland and Scotland, England, and Wales though not Iceland, and winters in North Africa. In Australia it is mainly sedentary and found patchily around the coastline, though it is a non-breeding visitor to eastern Victoria and Tasmania.

There is a 1,000 km gap, corresponding with the coast of the Nullarbor Plain, between its westernmost breeding site in South Australia and the nearest breeding sites to the west in Western Australia. In the islands of the Pacific it is found in the Bismarck Islands, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, and fossil remains of adults and juveniles have been found in Tonga, where it probably was wiped out by arriving humans. It is possible it may once have ranged across Vanuatu and Fiji as well. It is an uncommon to fairly common winter visitor to all parts of South Asia, and Southeast Asia from Myanmar through to Indochina and southern China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Lunch Time Came across this guy having his lunch down at the river. He was quite patient with me interrupting his meal. I spent about half an hour in knee deep snow and ended up having enough before he did. I loved the time I spent though!  Osprey,Pandion haliaetus

Status

The osprey has a large range, covering 9,670,000 km2 in just Africa and the Americas, and has a large global population estimated at 460,000 individuals. Although global population trends have not been quantified, the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List , and for these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. There is evidence for regional decline in South Australia where former territories at locations in the Spencer Gulf and along the lower Murray River have been vacant for decades.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the main threats to osprey populations were egg collectors and hunting of the adults along with other birds of prey, but osprey populations declined drastically in many areas in the 1950s and 1960s; this appeared to be in part due to the toxic effects of insecticides such as DDT on reproduction. The pesticide interfered with the bird's calcium metabolism which resulted in thin-shelled, easily broken or infertile eggs. Possibly because of the banning of DDT in many countries in the early 1970s, together with reduced persecution, the osprey, as well as other affected bird of prey species, have made significant recoveries. In South Australia, nesting sites on the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island are vulnerable to unmanaged coastal recreation and encroaching urban development.
Osprey Eyes                                Photo taken on Gulf of Mexico coast, Southwest Florida, USA Osprey,Pandion haliaetus

Habitat

The osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the peregrine falcon. It has a worldwide distribution and is found in temperate and tropical regions of all continents except Antarctica. In North America it breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland south to the Gulf Coast and Florida, wintering further south from the southern United States through to Argentina. It is found in summer throughout Europe north into Ireland, Scandinavia, Finland and Scotland, England, and Wales though not Iceland, and winters in North Africa. In Australia it is mainly sedentary and found patchily around the coastline, though it is a non-breeding visitor to eastern Victoria and Tasmania.

There is a 1,000 km gap, corresponding with the coast of the Nullarbor Plain, between its westernmost breeding site in South Australia and the nearest breeding sites to the west in Western Australia. In the islands of the Pacific it is found in the Bismarck Islands, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, and fossil remains of adults and juveniles have been found in Tonga, where it probably was wiped out by arriving humans. It is possible it may once have ranged across Vanuatu and Fiji as well. It is an uncommon to fairly common winter visitor to all parts of South Asia, and Southeast Asia from Myanmar through to Indochina and southern China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Osprey Fishing A lucky shot of an Osprey flying with a fish. This was in North Bear lake Idaho Geotagged,Osprey,Pandion haliaetus,Spring,United States

Reproduction

The osprey breeds near freshwater lakes and rivers, and sometimes on coastal brackish waters. Rocky outcrops just offshore are used in Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia, where there are 14 or so similar nesting sites of which five to seven are used in any one year. Many are renovated each season, and some have been used for 70 years. The nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood, turf or seaweed built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles, artificial platforms or offshore islets. As wide as 2 meters and weighing about 135 kg, large nests on utility poles may be fire hazards and have caused power outages.

Generally, ospreys reach sexual maturity and begin breeding around the age of three to four, though in some regions with high osprey densities, such as Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., they may not start breeding until five to seven years old, and there may be a shortage of suitable tall structures. If there are no nesting sites available, young ospreys may be forced to delay breeding. To ease this problem, posts are sometimes erected to provide more sites suitable for nest building. In some regions ospreys prefer transmission towers as nesting sites, e.g. in East Germany.



The platform design developed by one organization, Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. has become the official design of the State of New Jersey, U.S. The platform plans and materials list, available online, have been utilized by people from a number of different geographical regions. is the global site for mapping osprey nest locations and logging observations on reproductive success.

Ospreys usually mate for life. Rarely, polyandry has been recorded. The breeding season varies according to latitude; spring in southern Australia, April to July in northern Australia and winter in southern Queensland. In spring the pair begins a five-month period of partnership to raise their young. The female lays two to four eggs within a month, and relies on the size of the nest to conserve heat. The eggs are whitish with bold splotches of reddish-brown and are about 6.2 cm × 4.5 cm and weigh about 65 g . The eggs are incubated for about 35–43 days to hatching.

The newly hatched chicks weigh only 50–60 g , but fledge in 8–10 weeks. A study on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, had an average time between hatching and fledging of 69 days. The same study found an average of 0.66 young fledged per year per occupied territory, and 0.92 young fledged per year per active nest. Some 22% of surviving young either remained on the island or returned at maturity to join the breeding population. When food is scarce, the first chicks to hatch are most likely to survive. The typical lifespan is 7–10 years, though rarely individuals can grow to as old as 20–25 years.

The oldest European wild osprey on record lived to be over thirty years of age. In North America, great horned owls , golden eagles , and bald eagles are the only major predators of ospreys, capable of taking both nestlings and adults. However, kleptoparasitism by bald eagles, where the larger raptor steals the osprey's catch, is more common than predation. The white-tailed eagle , which is very similar to the bald eagle, may harass or predate the osprey in Eurasia. Raccoons can be a serious threat to nestlings or eggs if they can access the nest. Endoparasitic trematodes have been recorded in wild ospreys.
Pandion haliaetus Pandion haliaetus Bird of prey,Hawk,Osprey,Pandion haliaetus,birds

Food

Fish make up 99% of the osprey's diet. It typically takes fish weighing 150–300 g and about 25–35 cm in length, but the weight can range from 50 g to 2 kg . Virtually any type of fish in that size range are taken.

Ospreys have vision that is well adapted to detecting underwater objects from the air. Prey is first sighted when the osprey is 10–40 m above the water, after which the bird hovers momentarily then plunges feet first into the water.

Occasionally, the osprey may prey on rodents, rabbits, hares, amphibians, other birds, and small reptiles.
Osprey || Bhadra || Jan 2018
https://www.facebook.com/MohammedSalmanPics/ Osprey,Pandion haliaetus

Migration

European breeders winter in Africa. American and Canadian breeders winter in South America, although some stay in the southernmost U.S. states such as Florida and California. Some ospreys from Florida migrate to South America. Australasian ospreys tend not to migrate.

Studies of Swedish ospreys showed that females tend to migrate to Africa earlier than the males. More stopovers are made during their autumn migration. The variation of timing and duration in autumn was more variable than in spring. Although migrating predominantly in the day, they sometimes fly in the dark hours particularly in crossings over water and cover on average 260–280 km per day with a maximum of 431 km per day. European birds may also winter in South Asia, an osprey ringed in Norway has been recovered in western India.
Bringing home breakfast I know this osprey quite well.  This osprey has made his nest with his mate in the same spot in a very large county park in St. Petersburg, FL adjacent to a parking lot where I often park when I do a training session on my bike.  The regulars call him “Fleck” due to a fleck at the 7 o’clock position of his right eye.  I often photograph him and on this day, I was photographing an owls nest about a mile away and stopped by to see if their was any action at the osprey nest.  I found him sitting on a power line with a fish and knowing that he is uncomfortable around people and other birds when he has caught a fish, I readied my camera for action.  He did not disappoint and took off towards his adjacent nest and I started firing my camera.  I filmed a complete sequence in which the bird landed on the nest and fed the fish to his waiting mate which the locals have named Jewel.  When I got home and was uploading my images, I almost fell off my chair when I saw that I had made this amazing capture of the bird with his wings in the so-called angel wing position, making direct eye contact t with me and clutching a fish in one talon - a one in a million capture!!  Osprey,Pandion haliaetus,birds,birds of prey,osprey,osprey in flight,osprey with fish,raptors

Evolution

To date there have been two extinct species named from the fossil record. ''Pandion homalopteron'' was named by Stuart L. Warter in 1976 from fossils of Middle Miocene, Barstovian age, found in marine deposits in the southern part of California. The second named species ''Pandion lovensis'', was described in 1985 by Jonathan J. Becker from fossils found in Florida and dating to the latest Clarendonian and possibly representing a separate lineage from that of ''P. homalopteron'' and ''P. haliaetus''. A number of claw fossils have been recovered from Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments in Florida and South Carolina.

The oldest recognized family Pandionidae fossils have been recovered from the Oligocene age Jebel Qatrani Formation, of Faiyum, Egypt. However they are not complete enough to assign to a specific genus. Another Pandionidae claw fossil was recovered from Early Oligocene deposits in the Mainz basin, Germany, and was described in 2006 by Gerald Mayr.
Don't even think about getting any closer! North West Cape, WA. Jul 29, 2015. Australia,Geotagged,Osprey,Pandion haliaetus,Winter

Cultural

The Roman writer Pliny the Elder reported that parent ospreys made their young fly up to the sun as a test, and dispatched any that failed.

Another odd legend regarding this fish-eating bird of prey, derived from the writings of Albertus Magnus and recorded in Holinshed's ''Chronicles'', was that it had one webbed foot and one taloned foot.

There was a medieval belief that fish were so mesmerised by the osprey that they turned belly-up in surrender, and this is referenced by Shakespeare in Act 4 Scene 5 of ''Coriolanus'':

I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature.


In Buddhism, the osprey is sometimes represented as the "King of Birds", especially in '' 'The Jātaka: Or, Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births' '', no. 486.

The osprey is mentioned in the famous Chinese folk poem "guan guan ju jiu" ; "ju jiu" 雎鳩 refers to the osprey, and "guan guan" to its voice. In the poem, the osprey is considered to be an icon of fidelity and harmony between wife and husband, due to its highly monogamous habits. Some commentators have claimed that "ju jiu" in the poem is not the osprey but the mallard duck, since the osprey cannot make the sound "guan guan".

So-called "osprey" plumes were an important item in the plume trade of the late 19th century and used in hats including those used as part of the army uniform. Despite their name, these plumes were actually obtained from egrets.

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats used a grey wandering osprey as a representation of sorrow in ''The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems'' .

In heraldry, the osprey is typically depicted as a white eagle, often maintaining a fish in its talons or beak, and termed a "sea-eagle." It is historically regarded as a symbol of vision and abundance; more recently it has become a symbol of positive responses to nature, and has been featured on more than 50 international postage stamps.



The cap badge of Rhodesia's Selous Scouts was a stylized osprey.

In 1994, the osprey was declared the provincial bird of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is also the official bird of Södermanland, Sweden.

The osprey is used as a brand name for various products and sports teams. Examples include: the Ospreys ; the Richard Stockton College Ospreys ; the first college in the nation to adopt the osprey as its mascot and athletic team name, North Florida Ospreys , the Missoula Osprey ; the Seattle Seahawks ; the Wagner Seahawks ; the Cold Spring Harbor Seahawks ; the Peninsula High School Seahawks ; and the St. Mary's College of Maryland Seahawks .

Examples of the osprey used as a mascot include: Ozzie Osprey ; Talon the Osprey of New Jersey's Stockton University; Sammy the Seahawk ; the Wells International Seahawks ; the Salve Regina Seahawks ; the LA Harbor College Seahawks ; and Rowdy the Riverhawk .

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