Pandion (bird)

Pandion is a genus of birds of prey, known as ospreys, the only genus of family Pandionidae. Most taxonomic treatments have regarded this genus as describing a single extant species, separated to subspecies or races, while some treatments recognize two extant species.

The population found at the coastline and islands of Australia and southeast Asia, and the Indonesian archipelago have also been described as Pandion haliaetus cristatus.[1]

Extant species:

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Osprey mg 9605 Pandion haliaetus Western osprey Cosmopolitan distribution
Osprey at North Beach Pandion cristatus Eastern osprey Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania

Extinct species:

  • Pandion homalopteron Warter 1976
  • Pandion lovensis Becker 1985
Western osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Pandionidae
Sclater & Salvin, 1873
Genus: Pandion
Savigny, 1809
Pandion global range
Global range of Pandion


  1. ^ Reader's digest complete book of Australian birds (2nd rev. 1st ed.). Reader's Digest Services. 1982. p. 114. ISBN 0909486638.
Eastern osprey

The eastern osprey (Pandion cristatus) is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. They live in Oceania at coastal regions of the Australian continent, the Indonesian islands, New Guinea, and the Philippines. It is usually sedentary and pairs breed at the same nest site, building up a substantial structure on dead trees or limbs.

The species resides in habitat close to coasts and estuaries that provide opportunities for fishing.

The eastern osprey's diet consists mostly of vertebrate fish species. It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.


The osprey or more specifically the western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.

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 Australia and Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.

As its other common names suggest, 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. Three subspecies are usually recognized; one of the former subspecies, cristatus, has recently been given full species status and is referred to as the eastern osprey.


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