Pandion cristatus (Vieillot, 1816)

Common Name: 
Eastern Osprey

Ospreys are cosmopolitan, being found in many coastal and lake areas of the world. In Australia, it ranges across the north and east coast from Broome, WA, to the south coast of NSW. There is also a southern population found from Kangaroo Island to the Great Australian Bight,SA, and a western population from Esperance to Cape Keraudren, WA.

Ecological Notes: 

Found on the coast and in terrestrial wetlands of tropical and temperate Australia and off-shore islands, occasionally ranging inland along rivers, though mainly in the north of the country. The Eastern Osprey feeds mainly on medium-sized live fish.

Additional Notes: 

When prey is located an individual will fold its wings, drop headlong, with its feet forward to snatch a fish with its talons. It may go completely under the water or snatch a fish from the surface, before lifting off again, with strong wing strokes. The osprey has several adaptations that suit its fishing-eating habit :
• reversible outer toes
• sharp spicules on the underside of the toes
• closable nostrils to keep out water during dives
• backwards-facing scales on the talons which act as barbs to help hold its catch.
• dense plumage which is oily and prevents its feathers from getting waterlogged.


Atlas of Living Australia at Pandion haliaetus Accessed 29 July 2020.

Birdlife Australia at Accessed 27 July 2020.