Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)


Osprey, one of our noblest bird species, is also one of the most widely distributed species in the world. After eagles, it is our largest daytime bird of prey. Ospreys are generally well known among people for the reason that they differ greatly from our other raptors in both appearance and habits.

Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. The bird has an extraordinary way of preying its fish by plunging into the water straight from the air. Preying is always a unique and spectacular show worth watching. See the videos from Pohtiolampi:

Video 1 (5 min) by Hannu Vainiopekka/2007
Video 2 (2 min 10 sec) by Per Johan Næsje/2007
Video 3 (30 sec) by Per Johan Næsje/2007

The weight of prey fishes is around 300 grams. Formerly, ospreys were bitterly thought of as "fish robbers". Nowadays, however, every knowing fisherman acknowledges osprey as the undeniable king of fishing waters. Moreover, the fishes caught by ospreys are often secondary to humans.

Osprey always builds its nest in the uppermost fork of a tree with an open view on the surrounding. In Finland, suitable nesting trees are usually limited to old pines having a flat crown with strong uppermost branches. Of course, other pillars rising far above the surrounding go as well. Consequently nests have been found in old geodetic towers as well as on top of sea marks, for instance. The Osprey's nest is an unbelievably messy heap generally built of dry sticks. Both the height and diameter of an osprey nest might end up being over a few meters after many years of use. Often the same nest can be used for decades.

Osprey is the provincial bird of the Häme region and the designated official bird of the city of Valkeakoski

Osprey in a Nutshell

Scientific name Pandion haliaetusSaaksi1F-250SaaksiJaKala1-250

Length: 53-61 cm,
Wing span 140-165 cm
The female is generally larger than the male Osprey

Population in Finland:
Entire Finland, but the population is highest in the Häme region.

Diet: Solely Fish

Head white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck. Breast and under part fairly white, the wing bends always dark; tips of wings and bottom side streaked with brown.


The picture's flying osprey is a typical sight: slightly arched wings strongly bent in a gull-like manner. Wing stroke is low and steady. In flight, ospreys have arched wings and "drooping" primaries. Especially from a distance ospreys can be misidentified as seagulls because the tips of its wings are less branched than those of other large raptors.

Compared to the bird's appearance, its call is rather modest: cheep, cheep or yewk, yewk.


More information about Ospreys (Webcams, Videos, Images, Discussion Forums etc.) can be found on our Osprey Links -page.