Pandion haliaetus

Order: Falconiformes
Order Description: Vultures, Osprey, Hawks, Falcons
Family: Accipitridae
Family Description: Osprey, Hawks and Eagles

Physical Description:
21-24 1/2" (53-62 cm). Dark brown back and wings; white below and under wings. Head black and white: black splash on crownClick word for definition, 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 kleptoparasitisedClick word for definition by Bald Eagles. Idaho study revealed birds nesting in northern Idaho winter in Central America. Northern Idaho nestlings disperse to Nevada, Oregon, and Montana.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 2-4 eggs (usually 3), for about 38 days; male provides food (Idaho study found young/nest averages 1.37). Young first fly at 44-59 days, and are dependent on parents for 6 wk or more (less in northern range). Breeding usually occurs at 3 yr, sometimes at 4-5 yr.

Element Code: ABNKC01010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5B,N4N

Important State References:
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.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.