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Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) | by haroldmoses
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Western 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 (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.

 

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 names suggest, the osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.

 

As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Three subspecies are usually recognized, one of the former subspecies cristatus has recently been given full species status and is referred to as the eastern osprey. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the osprey is not classed as a sea eagle.

 

The osprey is 0.9–2.1 kg (2.0–4.6 lb) in weight and 50–66 cm (20–26 in) in length with a 127–180 cm (50–71 in) wingspan. It is, thus, of similar size to the largest members of the Buteo or Falco genera.

 

The wing chord measures 38 to 52 cm (15 to 20 in), the tail measures 16.5 to 24 cm (6.5 to 9.4 in) and the tarsus is 5.2–6.6 cm (2.0–2.6 in).

 

This image was taken in Port Hedland on the west coast of Australia

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Taken on February 22, 2020