Tuesday, June 25, 2013
O is for OSPREY
The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common name suggests, the Osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.
As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Four subspecies are usually recognised. one of which has recently been given full species status. Despite its propensity to nest near water, it is not classed as a sea-eagle. The Osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. Even the few subspecies are not unequivocally separable.
The Osprey differs in several aspects from other diurnal bids of prey. Its toes are of equal length, its tarsi are reticulate, and its talons are rounded, rather than grooved. The Osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.
EC has asked me to feature the pardelote as my "P" bird so there will be 2 posts for "P" as I have a fondness for the puffin.