Ospreys (Family Pardionidae)
The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk,
is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching 60
centimetres (24 in) in length with a 1.8 metre (6 ft) wingspan. It is
brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and
underparts, with a black eye patch and wings.
The osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location
near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on
all continents except Antarctica although in South America it occurs
only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common name suggests, the osprey's diet consists almost
exclusively of fish. It has evolved specialised physical characteristics
and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.
As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own
taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Four subspecies
are usually recognised. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the
osprey is not a sea-eagle.
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