Devon Wildlife Trust The osprey is no stranger to fame and attention - its pursuits have been followed closely by nestcams in the locations where it breeds: Speyside and Perth in Scotland, Kielder, Cumbria and East Midlands in England, and the Dyfi Valley in Wales. A migratory bird, it is present in the UK in summer. Ospreys eat fish, catching them in spectacular fashion as they dive towards lakes and lochs, stretch out their talons and scooping them out of the water with ease.
How to Identify
The osprey is a brown-and-white bird which could possibly be mistaken for a seagull at a distance. The osprey is a large bird of prey with dark brown upperparts and contrasting white underparts that can appear mottled in females. Their heads are white with a dark brown through their eyes. Their wings during flight show strong barring and distinctively dark brown, angled ‘wrists’.
RSPB Seen in flight from below the osprey has white or slightly mottled underparts. The long wings are angled, bending at the 'wrist' which has a black patch contrasting with the white wing linings and at a distance it could be mistaken for a large gull. This spectacular fish-eating bird of prey is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing) and low breeding numbers. They are listed as a Schedule 1 species on The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Devon Birds: Search the Devon Birds website for recent sightings of Ospreys in Devon.
Wikipedia: The osprey or more specifically the western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.
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 names suggest, the osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses 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. Three subspecies are usually recognized; one of the former subspecies, cristatus, has recently been given full species status and is referred to as the eastern osprey.
eBird: Large, mostly white raptor that cruises over lakes, rivers, and coastal waterways in search of fish. Impressively widespread: found on every continent except Antarctica. Mostly white head and underparts; dark brown back. In flight, holds wings with a kink in the wrist (shaped like an "M"). Stick nests are conspicuous on top of channel markers, utility poles and high platforms near water. Often seen plunging feet-first into water from high in the air to grab fish.