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Aves - Neognathae - Accipitriformes - Pandionidae - Pandion - Pandion haliaetus

Left Humerus (Left Upper Arm Bone) of a Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)


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Species Description
The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is also known as a fish eagle and a sea hawk. This diurnal, raptor is 50-66 cm in length and has a wingspan of 58-72 inches. The back and dorsal wing feathers are dark brown while the ventral plumage is gray to white and sometimes striped with darker feathers. The mostly white head has darker feathers around the eyes with a dark brown stripe extending to the back of the head. Ospreys have very large feet used for grasping prey and carrying during flight. Distributed globally, the bird is found throughout all continents except Antarctica, and nests in areas with a large body of water containing an adequate food supply. The bulk of the diet consists of fish in which the bird must hunt and catch. The Osprey has many traits the make it an adept fisher such as reversible outer toes, backwards scales that keep prey from slipping from its grasp, and nostrils that close to prevent water intake. In order to catch the prey, the osprey sights the fish from 32-130 feet above the water, plunges feet first into the water, and uses both feet to carry fish. Ospreys usually begin breeding around 3-4 years of age and form lifelong partnerships with their mates. The Osprey has a unique call consisting of sharp whistles, sounding like a “cheep, cheep” or a “yewk, yewk”. Interestingly, the Osprey is not only referred to in the scientific literature but has made it into the works of Shakespeare. In Act 4, Scene 5 of Coriolanus, in a reference to how the osprey mesmerizes the fish and the fish surrenders to the osprey, Aufidius says of Coriolanus’ power over Rome: “I think he’ll be to Rome as is the osprey to the fish, who take it by sovereignty of nature.”
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)

Right Humerus (Right Upper Arm Bone)

Left Humerus (Left Upper Arm Bone)

Left Tarsometatarsus (Left Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones)

Right Tarsometatarsus (Right Fused Element Consisting of Ankle and Middle Foot Bones)

Furcula (Wishbone)

Mandible (Jawbone )
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