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Pandion haliaetus


Diurnal, fish-eating hawk with a wingspan between 50 and 71 inches. Identified by a deep, glossy brown color of its upper parts, a pure white underbelly, and an M-shaped kink in its wings when seen from below. In flight, the osprey has arched wings and drooping "hands," giving it a gull-like appearance. Captures it's prey by diving into waters (feet first) and grabbing prey with its long talons.


Ospreys can be found around nearly any body of water: rivers, marshes, estuaries, even coral reefs. Often utilizes man-made structures like poles and channel markers to create its nests over water. Can be found on all continents except Antarctica, and only occurs in South America as a non-breeding migrant. In North America, it breeds in areas as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland to areas as far south as Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.


Commonly mistaken for the Bald Eagle, another bird of prey found in similar habitats throughout North America. Its populations have rebounded since the 1960's after being listed as endangered due to chemical pollutants that caused the thinning of their eggshells.

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Spotted by

Solomons, Maryland, USA

Spotted on Jul 8, 2012
Submitted on Jul 19, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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