- Common Name: Osprey
- Scientific Name: Pandion haliaetus
- Adult length: male 56-60 cm, female 57-62cm
- Adult wingspan: male 147-166cm, female 154-175cm
- Adult weight: male 1.4-1.6kg, female 1.6-2.2kg
- Age at first breeding: normally 3 to 5 years
- No. eggs laid: usually 3
- Incubation: between 35 and 42 days
- Fledging: about 53 days
- Diet: fish
Top 10 Facts:
- Ospreys are found on all continents except Antarctica.
- UK Ospreys are migratory, arriving in late March and April and leaving again, usually for West Africa, in August and September. They travel an average of 5000-6000 km each way.
- Ospreys are fast fliers. During migration, they can travel an average of 320 km a day at 40 km/h.
- Ospreys became extinct as a breeding bird in England in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916. This was primarily due to persecution by Victorian egg and skin collectors and shooting to protect fish stocks.
- Egg collecting remains one of the biggest threats faced by ospreys today.
- Ospreys re-colonised naturally, breeding for the first time in Scotland in 1954 at Loch Garten, Abernethy Forest Reserve, and in England in 2001 at Bassenthwaite in the Lake District.
- When fishing, ospreys carry their catch so that the fish faces forwards like a torpedo, minimising air resistance. Ospreys have a reversible outer toe to enable them to do this.
- Adults can catch fish weighing over 1 kg, although the average catch is about 300-400g.
- They are largely monogamous and strongly faithful both to nest and mate. One female osprey in Scotland bred on the same nest for over 20 years.
- On average, an osprey nest is 120-150 cm wide and 50-200 cm deep. The largest osprey nest recorded was the size of a double bed.
- Pandion was king of Athens. In ancient mythology, he was turned into a fish when he displeased the gods. Haliaetus is also a combination of Greek words, hals meaning “salt water” and aetos meaning “eagle”.