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Pandion haliaetus


The Osprey sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle or fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. 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, 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 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. Four subspecies are usually recognised. Despite its propensity to nest near water, the Osprey is not a sea-eagle.


Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee. According to the United States Geological Survey, Reelfoot Lake was formed when the region subsided during the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–1812. Several eyewitnesses reported that the Mississippi River flowed backward for 24 hours to fill the lake.


We saw 5 nesting pairs in the bald cypresses within a small area close to the center of the lake. This male was standing guards a short distance from one of the nests, & took over incubating the eggs when his mate took flight. I will post more photos of the females & the nests.

No species ID suggestions


KarenL 6 years ago

Thanks Atul!

Atul 6 years ago

too cool!

KarenL 6 years ago

Thanks Christy! It certainly is! The lake is well stocked with bass & Japanese carp were introduced there years ago to combat the weed but have since become a problem. We saw several that were around 2' long jumping out of the water!

ChristyHolland 6 years ago

Must be a fish-happy lake with five pairs nesting!! Wonderful series, Karen!!

KarenL 6 years ago

Thanks Maria!

Maria dB
Maria dB 6 years ago

especially like the second photo

KarenL 6 years ago

Thanks Scott!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 6 years ago

Super shot!

Tennessee, USA

Lat: 36.42, Long: -89.36

Spotted on May 9, 2012
Submitted on May 10, 2012


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