Jul 28

Currently the most popular video on ARKive, the osprey is definitely deserving of the limelight. This widespread and magnificent bird of prey occurs on every continent except Antarctica, and is an agile aerial predator. It feeds almost exclusively on live fish which it spots using its excellent eyesight before plunging into the water to snatch the unfortunate fish with its long talons.

Photo of an osprey

Osprey fishing

The courtship display of the osprey involves more aerial acrobatics with the male making repeated flights over the chosen nesting site whilst clasping nesting material or a fish. The large stick nest can be built in a number of places including high up in a tree, on a cliff, rocky outcrop, telephone pole, dilapidated building, or even just on the ground.

Photo of an osprey carrying nesting material while in flight

Osprey with nesting material

Female osprey lay around two to four eggs which, once hatched, require a plentiful supply of fish in order to keep the chicks well fed. Although the young may leave the nest after only a month and a half, they remain dependent on the parent birds to feed them for another two to three months, that’s a lot of extra fish!

Photo of osprey adult feeding young

Osprey feeding young

To see the amazing osprey in action, watch ARKive’s most popular video.

Becky Moran, ARKive Media Researcher