Pandion haliaetus


The Osprey is no stranger to fame and attention - its pursuits have been followed closely by nestcams in the locations where it breeds: Speyside and Perth in Scotland, Cumbria and East Midlands in England, and also in Wales in the Dyfi Valley. There are public viewing points at these places, so you can catch a glimpse of this majestic bird. A migratory bird, it is present in Britain in summer. Ospreys eat fish, catching them in spectacular fashion as they dive towards lakes and lochs, stretch out their talons and scoop them out of the water with ease.

How to identify

The Osprey is a black and white bird which could be mistaken for a seagull at a distance. On closer viewing, its body is dark above and white below, and its wings have dark patches and are angled at the 'wrist'.

Where to find it

A rare breeding bird of parts of Scotland, Cumbria, the East Midlands and Wales, Ospreys can be spotted fishing at large bodies of water across the country during migration.

When to find it

Cumbria Wildlife Trust saw the return of the Osprey at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve this year.

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Ospreys were severely persecuted across Europe in the past, but thankfully are beginning to increase in number today. To ensure they have continued success, The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscrape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Pandion haliaetus
Birds of prey
Length: 56cm Wingspan: 1.6m Weight: 1.5kg Average Lifespan: 9 years Breeding: Female Ospreys begin to lay their eggs in late April. Incubation period: 5-6 weeks (35-43 days) average being 37 days Age at first breeding: 3-5 years Number of eggs: Usually 3 Colour of eggs: blotched reddish-brown
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and listed under CITES Appendix II.