Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Eastern Osprey - Pandion cristatus

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Accipitriformes > Pandionidae > Pandion > Pandion cristatus

Eastern Osprey
Pandion cristatus

A medium sized fish hunting raptor, common along the coast and rivers.

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Osprey - Perched on a tree over the Daintree River - Photo by Alex Pawlow

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Its diet consists mostly of fish, which it hunts from the air, or a perch.

It possesses unique adaptations which assist in catching fish. Its outer toe is reversible which allows them to grasp a slippery fish with two toes in front and two behind. It also has sharp spicules on the underside of the toes and backwards facing scales under the talons to improve grip on fish.

Ospreys are able to close their nostrils when diving into the water and its oily feathers help prevent it from becoming waterlogged.

Male and female birds look similar, however the male is slightly smaller and slender, with a less distinct chest band.