Species Index

Pandion cristatus
(Vieillot, 1816)

Common Name: Eastern Osprey

Distribution: 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.

References: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage at Eastern Osprey Accessed 14 August 2023.

eBird Australia at Accessed 13 August 2023.