Seen in flight from below the osprey has white or slightly mottled underparts. The long wings are angled, bending at the ‘wrist’ which has a black patch contrasting with the white wing linings, and at a distance it could be mistaken for a large gull. This spectacular fish-eating bird of prey is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing), and low breeding numbers.
There are thought to be between 250 and 300 breeding pairs of Osprey in the UK, but they are still threatened by persecution and disturbance. Records are made every year, but only as migrant birds. The numbers of annual records has steadily grown, with an average of 10 records each year since 2000. Most records are in spring. Should the breeding range of Osprey expand, then the Cotswold Water Park would seem the county’s most suitable habitat.
Size, habitat and diet
Weight: M/F 1.5kg
World distribution: Cosmopolitan, Northern populations generally winter further south.
Habitat: Lakes, rivers, seacoasts.
Diet: Fish, caught in talons after dive
Ospreys – The Animal’s Guide to Britain (BBC)