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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.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Pandion haliaetus

Family

Osprey (Pandionidae)

Where to see them

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.

When to see them

Birds arrive back from Africa in late March and April, leaving again in August and September.

What they eat

Fish

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-200-250 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Worldwide
All continents

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

Similar birds