This fish eating bird can be found near rivers, marshes, lakes, and other bodies of water. Watch it as it dives feet first into the water to snatch a fish for a meal. The Osprey, Oregon’s state raptor, can be found in our borders in the spring and summer. It then migrates south for the fall and winter.

Osprey, photo by Mick Thompson

Size & Shape: 23″, wingspan 63″. One of the largest birds of prey in North America with long wings, held at wingtips, angled slightly backwards (gull-like.)

Color: Blackish above except for white underparts contrast with dark mask, strongly banded wings, tail, dark eye stripe.

Behavior: Feeds almost exclusively on fish, hovering over water, plunging feet-first, sometimes catching prey well below surface. Feet equipped with bumps called spicules that assist talons in holding fish. Pairs raise young on top of broken tree, power tower, platform, building bulky nest, often near human habitation.

Habitat: Usually near water, but migrants may be anywhere.

Field Marks: White breast and belly. Black back and wings. Long wings, angled slightly backwards. Dark eye stripe. Crown and forehead white.

Songs & Calls: Listen here.

Fun Facts: Osprey exclusively eat fish, so look for them near rivers and lakes. They prefer shallow water where fish are close to the surface.

Scientific Name: Pandion haliaetus