Osprey Facts

Osprey Statistics:

  • 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.
  • Ospreys are migratory, arriving in late March and April and leaving again, usually for West Africa, in August and September, travelling an average of 5000-6000 km each way.
  • Ospreys are fast fliers and 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 heavy persecution by Victorian egg and skin collectors. Although things are slowly improving for ospreys they are still considered rare.
  • 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. They have a reverible outer toe to enable them to do this.
  • Adults can catch fish weighing up to 1 kg.
  • They are largely monogamous and strongly faithful both to nest and mate. One female osprey in Scotland has been using the same nest for over 20 years.
  • On average, an osprey nest is 120-150 cm wide and 50–200 cm deep. However, the largest osprey nest ever recorded was the size of a double bed.

And Finally:

  • Pandion was the king of Athens, who in ancient mythology, was turned into a fish when he displeased the gods. Haliaetus is also a combination of Greek words, hals meaning “sea” and aetos meaning “eagle”.