The Osprey is a large predatory bird (raptor) sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish hawk or fish eagle. This fish eating bird of prey reaches more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. The upper parts are a deep, glossy brown, the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white. The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck.The irises of the eyes are golden to brown. The bill is black, with a blue cere, and the feet are white with black talons. A short tail and long, narrow wings with four long, finger-like feathers, and a shorter fifth, give the Osprey a very distinctive appearance.The sexes appear fairly similar, although the adult male can be distinguished from the female by its slimmer body and narrower wings.The male’s breast band is weaker or non-existent than that of the female and the under wing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale.
The Osprey deals well in a large variety of habitats nesting in any location near a body of water where the food supply is adequate. It is found on all continents except Antarctica although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
The Osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish.Their vision is well adapted to detecting underwater objects from the air. Prey is typically sighted 10 to 40 meters above the water, then the bird hovers for a moment and lands feet first in the water.The Osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal (active in daytime, sleep at night) birds of prey. Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulate and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The Osprey and Owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind.
American and Canadian Osprey winter in South America, although some stay in the southernmost United States states such as California and Florida.