Irish: Iascaire Coirneach
Latin: Pandion haliaetus
Medium sized and long-winged raptor with white or pale lower body, throat and leading underwing. Hovers over water and dives feet first for fish. Adults are uniformly brown. Crown of the head is white and a large black stripe passes beyond their eyes. Female has more prominent brown smudging band, across its white breast, than male. Adult eyes are yellow. Juveniles' feathers on the upperwing and upperparts are tipped whitish and giving a speckled effect. Juvenile eyes are orange.
Hunts and breeds near freshwater lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Also found breeding near salt water estuaries and bays.
With rare exceptions, Ospreys catch and eat live fish only. In Europe Osprey hunt Pike, Trout, Flounder, Mullet and a variety of other fish. In short, Ospreys are opportunists; they concentrate on fish that are most available.
Always breeds within several kilometers of water. In Scotland predominantly breeds on mature, usually tall, trees especially Scots Pine and Douglas Fir. Can nest on ruined buildings, cliffs, pylons and artificial platforms. Bulky stick nest lined with bark and clumps of moss and small sods. Lays 2-4 eggs from April to early May and incubation lasts 35-38 days. Chicks leave the nest after 8-9 weeks.
Extinct in Ireland since circa the 18th Century. Summer visitor to Ireland, March-October only. The growing Scottish population is likely to lead to recolonisation in the future. Has begun to breed again in England in 2001. Winters in Africa.