The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Osprey

Afrikaans name: Visvalk

Osprey are normally found near large bodies of water

Osprey at Pilanesberg Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pandion haliaetus

The Osprey is now listed as the Western Osprey in publications to distinguish it from the Eastern Osprey Pandion cristatus which is found in Australia. It is also called a Sea Hawk or Fish Hawk in some places. They have a widespread distribution across the world, excluding Australia.

They are large birds which can have a wingspan of 180 cm and a length of 60 cm. Ospreys are normally found near larger bodies of water where they hunt for fish, which make up 99% of their diet. They use their excellent eye-sight to see potential prey when flying at a height of 50 metres. They then plunge into the water feet first to grab the fish.

An Osprey nest can be 2 metres in width and weigh over 100 kg. It is made up of sticks and other plant material. The nest made be placed in the fork of a large tree, rocky outcrops or a variety of other places. Between 2 and 4 eggs are laid and it takes around 70 days for the chicks to fledge. Although Osprey's are normally solitary birds they do pair for life.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 48

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Published: 1987 - Page: 61

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 102

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 68

The Coastal Guide of South Africa - Author: Jacana Media - Published: 2007 - Page: 98

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 93

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 72

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 92

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 88

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 121

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 153

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 149

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 184

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 115

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 184

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 72

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 52

Freshwater Life - Author: C. Griffiths, J. Day & M. Picker - Published: 2015 - Page: 56

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 195

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 61

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 16

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 45

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 64

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 23

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 66

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 86

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 122

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 88

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 205

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 42

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 133

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 123

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 123

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 84


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