POWERFUL HUNTER: The osprey is a medium-sized fish-eating bird of prey that is also called a fish hawk.
POWERFUL HUNTER: The osprey is a medium-sized fish-eating bird of prey that is also called a fish hawk.

Neat trick osprey uses to carry prey

The osprey is a highly skilled and spectacular hunter which plunges into the sea to grasp a fish and then carries it back to a tree or nest.

It aligns the fish lengthways to minimise air resistance and often struggles to carry a large, heavy fish.

It is a medium-sized fish-eating bird of prey that is also called a fish hawk.

Mostly found along coastal areas as well as offshore islands but will also travel along rivers to inland lakes.

It has dark brown upperparts contrasting with pale underparts. The beak is strongly hooked and the legs are powerful.

The female is similar to the male but is larger and has a fuller, darker breast band.

It builds a nest from sticks and driftwood and it may use the same nest year after year resulting in a huge structure after many years.

It is usually placed on a cliff or dead tree and is known to nest on the navigation platforms in Gladstone Harbour.

They will also use artificial nesting platforms and a number have been erected along the coast. Both birds bring sticks, but the female usually places the sticks in the nest.

The nest is lined with grass, seaweed or bark. The female does most of the incubation, while the male brings food to the nest.

Young Osprey, when learning how to hunt, can become entangled in fishing nets and also mistake floating debris such as thongs for fish and get them snagged in their talons.

Many birds die as a result of such incidents with the result that there are few birds left in New South Wales.

Fortunately the population in Queensland is still healthy but we need to modify our behaviour to ensure the population is viable in the future.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia. You can contact him with your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au.

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