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Also known as the 'fish hawk', the osprey bird is the sole member of the Pandionidae family. The bird's appearance is somewhat similiar to that of an eagle's, with it being coloured white of fawn with brown markings. It measures 60 centimetres long and has a wingspan of 2 metres.

Although its diet usually consists of exclusively fish, it has been known to also feed on small mammals. The bird has adapted to catching its prey by an efficient technique involving its slender claws.

Ospreys build large nests in trees, low bushes and jagged rocks. These nests are made up mostly of sticks and will sometimes be created up to 2 metres in diameter. 2 - 4 eggs will stay in the nest until the end of their incubation period, which is around 37 days. Once hatched from the egg, the offspring will be fed for 10 weeks, at which point it will be mature enough to leave home.

The bird's habitat include rivers, lakes, bays and coasts. Like many birds in northern regions, the osprey will migrate south for warmer climates during winter. However this is not to say all ospreys live in the north. Sadly, insecticides and human disturbance have over time reduced the birds numbers. In some areas the osprey is now considered to be an endangered species.

Os"prey, Os"pray (?), n. [Through OF. fr. L. ossifraga (orig., the bone breaker); prob. influenced by oripelargus (mountain stork, a kind of eagle, Gr. ); cf. OF. orpres, and F. orfraie. See Ossifrage.] Zool.

The fishhawk.


© Webster 1913.

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