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The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, or fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey.  It is a large raptor 2.0–4.6 lb. (0.9–2.1 kg) in weight and 20–26 in (50–66 cm) in length with a 50–71 in (127–180 cm) wingspan.  The Osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey.  Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulate, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The Osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind.

 

The Osprey is particularly well adapted its diet of fish, with reversible outer toes, sharp spicules on the underside of the toes, closable nostrils to keep out water during dives, and backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch. Ospreys have vision that is well adapted to detecting underwater objects from the air.  Prey is first sighted when the Osprey is 33–131 ft. (10–40 m) above the water, after which the bird hovers momentarily then plunges feet first into the water

 

The Osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. The Osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species, after the Peregrine Falcon.  It has a worldwide distribution and is found in temperate and tropical regions of all continents except Antarctica.  It has always presented something of a riddle to taxonomists, but it is treated as the sole living member of the family Pandionidae, and the family listed in its traditional place as part of the order Falconiformes.

See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osprey

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