osprey


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osprey

(ŏs`prē), common name for a fish-eating bird of prey found near water in most parts of the world. The osprey, or fish hawk, Pandion haliaetus, has brown upperparts and a grayish white head and underparts. Its wingspread ranges from 4 to 6 ft (127 to 180 cm), depending on the subspecies. It feeds solely on live fish and is usually seen hovering over the water, into which it plunges feet first to grasp its prey. In the United States the use of DDT led to a significant drop in the osprey population by the 1960s, but after the pesticide was banned (1972) the population recovered. The birds will nest on artificial platforms, first provided in the 1960s to help protect young ospreys from predators. Ospreys are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Accipitriformes, family Pandionidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Osprey

 

(Pandion haliaetus), a bird of the family Accipitridae of the order Falconiformes. The osprey is about 60 cm long and weighs 1.3–1.9 kg. The plumage is brown above and brightly colored below. There are little spines under the toes to help the bird grip the slippery bodies of fish. Ospreys are widely distributed except in tropical Africa and South America. In the USSR they are found from the forest tundra to the country’s southern borders. The birds settle near lakes and streams abounding in fish. They obtain their prey by swooping down onto or, sometimes, into the water. An oil from the coccygeal gland prevents the feathers from becoming soaked. Ospreys nest in trees and, less commonly, on cliffs or on the ground. A clutch contains two or three eggs, which are incubated for about 35 days. Ospreys are becoming rare everywhere. The birds are sometimes classified as the separate family Pandionidae.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

osprey

a large broad-winged fish-eating diurnal bird of prey, Pandion haliaetus, with a dark back and whitish head and underparts: family Pandioridae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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