Eastern Osprey

Pandion cristatus

The eastern osprey (Pandion haliaetus cristatus) is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. They live in Oceania at coastal regions of the Australian continent, the Indonesian islands, New Guinea, and the Philippines. It is usually sedentary and pairs breed at the same nest site, building up a substantial structure on dead trees or limbs. The subspecies resides in habitat close to coasts and estuaries that provide opportunities for fishing. In 2022, it was considered a defunct species by the IOC, due to its low genetic divergences and absence in morphological differences. The eastern osprey's diet consists mostly of vertebrate fish species. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey. Pandion cristatus, comparable in size as a medium-sized raptor or large hawk, occurs near the coast and large water bodies and is highly adapted to hunt and capture marine animals. The plumage is dark brown on the upper surfaces, and pale at the head and lower parts. The throat is white, a black line extends from this through the eye to a dark patch around the ear, demarcating this from the pale colour at the head. When not in flight, the feathers at the crown form a small crest. The breast is dappled with brownish patches, lacing below the neck, this is darker and more strongly banded in the female. The legs and feet of the species are strong and a light grey or white colour. The pattern of the scales at the tarsus is reticulate. The irides are yellow. The juveniles resemble adults, although the iris colour is a darker orange-yellow and plumage is distinguishable in multiple and subtle ways. In flight, the eastern osprey has bowed wings with narrow primary feathers that are angled and separate, giving a fingered appearance to the observer below. The eyes are set toward the front of the head, which along with the neck is proportionally small. The species swivels and cranes its neck while observing its surroundings in a curious and characteristic manner. The osprey resembles the white-bellied sea eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster, which has similar habitat and range, although the adult size is only that of the larger species' juvenile; the wings of an osprey are sharply angled rather than the up-swept outline of the soaring eagle.
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Eastern Ospreys on Birda



A map showing the sighting location
Jacob Fischer
Wednesday 22 Mar 2023 - 12:06am
A map showing the sighting location
Jack Tatham
Tuesday 14 Mar 2023 - 10:13am
A map showing the sighting location
Matthew Jacobs
Thursday 16 Feb 2023 - 7:18pm
A map showing the sighting location
Ashley booth
Thursday 16 Feb 2023 - 10:08am
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