Occurring on every continent except Antarctica, the osprey is the one of the most widespread birds of prey.The plumage of the osprey is generally brown above and white below, with a whitish head and a dark stripe through each eye .The wings are long and pointed and the legs are stout and heavily scaled. Also known as the fish hawk, the osprey exhibits several adaptations to hunting and eating fish, including dense, oily plumage, large feet, scaly soles, and a reversible outer toe that helps with carrying fish through the air.
The juvenile is fairly similar to the adult but the head is more darkly-streaked and the upperparts appear scaled with cream and pale rufous. There are four subspecies of the osprey, each occupying a different part of its overall range and differing slightly in size and appearance: Pandion haliaetus haliaetus, P. h. carolinensis, P. h. cristatus and P. h. ridgwayi .
1. IUCN Red List (June, 2009) http://www.iucnredlist.org
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3. CITES (October, 2008) http://www.cites.org
4. Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. (2001) Raptors of the World. Christopher Helm, London.
5. Global Raptor Information Network (June, 2009) http://www.globalraptors.org/grin/SpeciesResults.asp?specID=8308
6. Poole, A.F., Bierregaard, R.O. and Martell, M.S. (2002) Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), The Birds of North America Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca. Available at: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna
7. Michigan Natural Features Inventory (June, 2009) http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi