Belongs to: birds of prey

Osprey Pandion halietus

BoCC Amber list


Best time to see: Apr to Sep

Key facts

Large pale raptor, often mistaken for large gull; catches fish in a spectacular feet first dive

Habitat: freshwater, sea, estuaries, forests and woods

Returned to Scotland to breed in the 1950s after a 50-year absence, and now beginning to breed in England also

Recognition

Upperparts dark brown, white below with black and white markings; small head and bill; 55 cm

Often seen high overhead or hovering over water from where it plunges to feed

Eats fish exclusively

Lifecycle

Winters in mid-Africa and heads north into Europe to breed, laying late April to early May

Nest is a mass of sticks in tree; usually 3 eggs, white heavily blotched red-brown

  • Main photo

Photo © Robin Chittenden