|Photo by Peter Massas (Wikipedia)|
osprey (en); águia-pesqueira (pt); balbuzard pêcheur (fr); águila pescadora (es); fischadler (de)
The osprey is a cosmopolitan species, being found in all continents except Antarctica. In South America they only occur as a wintering species.
These birds are 50-66 cm long and have a wingspan of 150-180 cm. They weigh 1,4-2,1 kg.
Ospreys can be found in any habitat where they can build a safe nest near shallow water with abundant fish. They usually nest within 3-5 km of a water body such as a salt marsh, mangrove swamp, cypress swamp, lake, bog, estuary, reservoir or river.
They mostly eat freshwater fishes, but will take virtually any fish weighing 50-2.000 g or measuring 20-35 cm. They may occasionally also hunt rodents, rabbits, hares, amphibians, other birds, and small reptiles.
Ospreys are usually monogamous, and tend to mate for life, but polyandry as been recorded or rare occasions. The breeding season varies according to latitude, but usually takes place in December-October. The nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed, placed in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles or artificial platforms. There the female lays 1-4 creamy white to pinkish cinnamon eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 32-43 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 48-59 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 7-17 weeks later.
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 500.000 individuals. The population trend appears to be increasing and in North America surveys indicate an increase of over 80% per decade over the last 4 decades.