Yewk! Yewk!

The Osprey.


Osprey (Photo credit: Seokhee Kim)

The Osprey is in the raptor family along with the hawk, eagle, and other birds of prey.  Their diet consists of 99% fish along with a variety of small mammals like rodents, other birds, and amphibians.  They inhabit tropical and mild climates on every continent, except Antarctica, where they can easily reach a body of water.  Being a migratory bird, Ospreys spend the summer months in colder climates like Alaska, Scandinavia, Newfoundland, and North America.  Flying to places like Mexico, North Africa, Malaisia, Southern America, and the Soloman islands in the winter, breeding on the way.  This impressive bird is brown on the upperparts and predominantly grayish on the head and underparts.  The Osprey, along with owls, are the only raptors whose outer toes are reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.  Adult males can be distinguished from the females by their slimmer bodies and narrower wings. The breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, and the underwing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale.  Not the largest bird, Ospreys weigh 2-4.8 lbs and reach a length of 1-2.6 ft.  They also have a 4-5.7 ft wingspan.  Alternatively titled the fish hawk, sea hawk, and fish eagle.  Their call includes a series of sharp whistles, described as cheep, cheep or yewk, yewk.  If disturbed by activity near their nests, they emit frenzied screeching sounds.  Ultimately, these handsome birds are beneficial in that they help keep the rabbit population down.  Ospreys are not known to spread disease.

To better understand the Osprey, watch this video.