21-24 1/2" (53-62 cm). Dark brown back and wings; white below and under wings. Head black and white: black splash on crown, black eye ring, and black eye stripe continuing past ear. Black spotting on breast of female. Distinctive bend in wing when flying.
Similar Species- Bald Eagle
Whistled chirping: cheerp-cheerp-cheerp.
Breeds from northwestern Alaska, east to northern Saskatchewan, Labrador, and Newfoundland, and south to Baja California, Arizona, Gulf Coast, Florida, and Yucatan Peninsula. Winters from California and Gulf Coast, south through Central America to South America.
Found along rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and seacoasts, occuring widely in migration, often crossing land between bodies of water.
Feeds almost exclusively on fishes (usually live).
Catches food by diving feet- first into shallow water. Builds stick nest usually near water (sometimes up to 5 km from water), in tree or atop pole. Simetimes nests semi-colonially. Artificial platforms are highly productive, and help expand local populations, especially along reservoirs. Species is kleptoparasitised by Bald Eagles. Idaho study revealed birds nesting in northern Idaho winter in Central America. Northern Idaho nestlings disperse to Nevada, Oregon, and Montana.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Johnson, D.R. and W.E. Melquist. 1991. Wintering distribution and dispersal of northern Idaho and eastern Washington ospreys. J. Field Ornithol. 62:517-520.