Osprey flying

18 Fun Facts About Ospreys You Didn’t Know

Ospreys are one of the most iconic birds that fly in North America. These beautiful, fish-eating raptors have long been admired for their elegant shape and coloration.

There is a lot to learn about these majestic creatures! In this article, we will explore 18 facts about ospreys that you didn’t know. 

Size of the Osprey

  • Length: 20–26″ in (50.8–66 cm)
  • Weight: 2.0- 4.6 lbs. (0.9–2.09 kg)
  • Wingspan: 51–72″ in. (129.5–183 cm)

Ospreys live on every continent except Antarctica.

They are found on all continents except Antarctica, although they do not live in some Arctic regions. The North American population is roughly 60% migratory and 40% resident, while migration for populations on other continents varies between 20-50%. In Australia and New Zealand, most populations are permanent residents.

Ospreys nest in colonies.

These birds typically nest in areas with many trees and a shallow water source nearby. However, some osprey populations choose to nest in colonies with other ospreys on cliff sides, islands, man-made structures, and utility poles instead of individually. ​​​​​​​

They have talons as long as 3″ inches! 

Ospreys are large birds of prey that have talons as long as 3 inches. The osprey is the only raptor to use its talons differently than most other birds. They use their claws for grasping fish, rather than hunting them on land like most other raptors do.

The osprey will hover over the water and dive feet first into the water with its wings outstretched to grab a fish before returning to its perch. ​​​​​​​

The length of an Osprey ranges from 20-26″ inches.

The length of an osprey ranges from 20-26″ inches. The measurement is the distance from the tip of its beak to the end of its tail feathers. 

The average Osprey is 2 feet tall and 3 pounds in weight.

The average osprey is about 2 feet tall and 3 lbs. in weight (though males are often larger than females). 

The wingspan of an Osprey is 4-5 feet wide.

The wing span for these birds ranges from 4-5 feet across, making them able to fly over large distances without getting tired.​​​​​​​

The Osprey’s lifespan is between 15-30 Years.

They have a lifespan between 15-30 years, and they usually only live about 10% of their lives on land.

Osprey eggs take approximately 35-43 days to hatch. 

Osprey eggs take approximately 35-43 days to hatch, which is longer than any other North American bird species. 

This is because they have the highest yolk-to-albumen ratio, which takes more time for all the nutrients to reach the embryo and encourage it to develop into a healthy baby osprey. 

The osprey lays their eggs on a cliff or some other high place where they are in proximity to the water so that the parents can feed themselves and their young without having to fly too far.​​​​​​​

There are 460,000 Ospreys worldwide.

The global population of osprey is estimated at 460,000 individuals, with one third of them living in North America.​​​​​​​

Osprey perched
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

Their flight speed is 80 miles per hour (128 km/h).

Ospreys are not usually considered to be high-speed flyers, but they can fly at speeds up to 80 miles per hour (128 km/h).

The osprey’s flight speed varies depending on its hunting strategy and what it is carrying. ​​​​​​​They have been clocked as high as 100 miles per hour while in a dive.​​​​​​​

Ospreys catch their prey by swooping down from the sky.​​​​​​​

Ospreys are a type of bird that have the unusual hunting strategy of swooping down from the sky onto their prey. They are often seen soaring high in the sky above lakes and rivers, scanning for their next meal.

They use these tactics to catch fish, but they can also be seen catching small birds and rodents. ​​​​​​​

Male Ospreys are typically larger than females. 

Male ospreys are typically larger than females. The male ospreys typically weigh 1,700 grams, while females weigh only 900 grams.

They also have longer wings, which helps them soar more efficiently and increase their territory size. This size difference may be due to a trade-off between competing resources such as food and reproduction.​​​​​​​

Ospreys live in all 50 states of America and even Canada.​​​​​​​

The osprey is a large bird of prey that lives in all 50 states and even Canada. The osprey is found on both coasts of the United States, and throughout the country’s interior.

In general, these birds prefer living near freshwater sources such as lakes or rivers, but they can also be found along coastlines and saltwater estuaries. ​​​​​​​

Ospreys eat primarily fish.

Ospreys are an aquatic bird that eat primarily fish. The osprey diet includes perch, bass, trout, sunfish and other freshwater fish. In addition to these fish, they also feed on crustaceans such as crayfish and crabs.

They will also prey on rodents, amphibians like frogs and salamanders, and will occasionally scavenge for dead animals as well.​​​​​​​

Osprey
Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

Their feathers are not waterproof.

Their feathers are not waterproof, so they preen them often, which means that they clean their feathers by running their beak through them.

Ospreys have true color vision.

Ospreys are one of the few birds with true color vision and can see ultraviolet light. This is because they have four types of cone cells in their eyes, which allow them to see a wider range of colors than most other animals on Earth.

The osprey’s sense of sight is crucial for hunting fish, because they can see blood in the water. These raptors have four types of cones, three different photopigments that sense short wavelengths (blue), medium wavelengths (green) and long wavelengths (red).

This means that they have a wider range of colors than humans do, but cannot see as many shades within each category.​​​​​​​ This is due to the osprey’s yellow retina, which produces these colors more effectively than other animals’ retinas. ​​​​​​​

They have 4 toes on each foot.

The Osprey has four toes on each foot, which helps them grip onto things. This is one of the reasons they are such great hunters. Osprey feet are also called talons because they help them catch their prey.

These birds have three toes pointing forward and one pointing backward, the front three can be used to grip while the back toe serves as a balance point for when they’re soaring in the air.