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Birds by name
Conservation status: Amber
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.
Its main UK stronghold is in Scotland (with some sites in North East England) where you can visit many nest sites with public viewing facilities, including Loch Garten (Highland), Wigtown (Dumfries and Galloway) and Loch of the Lowes (Perthshire). In 2001 it began breeding in England at Bassenthwaite in Cumbria, at Rutland Water (where it was introduced) and there are two pairs with viewing facilities in Wales. Can be seen at almost any large body of freshwater during spring and autumn migration.
Birds arrive back from Africa in late March and April, leaving again in August and September.
* UK breeding is the number of pairs breeding annually. UK wintering is the number of individuals present from October to March. UK passage is the number of individuals passing through on migration in spring and/or autumn.
Please note that the map is only intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto