What makes an Osprey unique?

Balbuzard pêchant par Michel Jaussi

  • It is the only diurnal raptor that feeds only on fish.

  • Ospreys are the only species belonging to the genus (Pandion) and family (Pandionidae), meaning that they are taxonomically very distinct.

  • Along with owls, they are the only raptors with a reversible outer toe, meaning that they can grasp their prey with two toes in front and two toes behind. Once caught, the fish don’t stand a chance.

  • The global distribution of a same species of raptor in every continent (apart from Antarctica) is exceptional, with only the Peregrine Falcon having a wider distribution amongst diurnal raptors. But yes, taxonomy is the opinion of the scientist. It is possible that what has up to now been considered the same species (but different subspecies) living on different continents may at some stage become separate species.  But even if science decides that there are different species of Osprey on different continents, this doesn’t change the fact that all Ospreys look very similar and have the same ecology throughout the world. They live at the top of the food chain and are excellent indicators of the health of aquatic ecosystems.