The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a bird of prey that specializes in catching fish. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, important prey species include Atlantic menhaden, Atlantic croaker, spot, seatrout, juvenile striped bass, white perch, and other fish.

Adults reach 24 inches in length with wingspans up to 6 feet. Ospreys have brown upper bodies with grizzled with gray on the head and underparts. They have mahogany colored eye patches and wings.

The osprey is common in the Chesapeake Bay from spring through fall. Ospreys usually spend the cold months in Florida, the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast and in South America.

Ospreys occur nearly worldwide. In North America, they are common from New England southward.

Related Information


Birds of Prey

Aquatic Birds