Osprey 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 Glaslyn 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.


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’.


Length: 56cm Wingspan: 1.6m Weight: 1.5kg Average Lifespan: 10 to 15 years


Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and listed under CITES Appendix II.


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 see

March – September


Ospreys migrate to West Africa during winter; satellite tracking has shown them flying up to 430km in just one day. It takes them about 20 flying days to complete the journey, but in autumn birds stop off to refuel at lakes and reservoirs.

Find out more about amazing ospreys in our Osprey Fact File

Common name


Species name

Pandion haliaetus

IUCN Red List status

Least Concern

When to see in Scotland

March – September

Where to see in Scotland

Loch of the Lowes

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