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Bird Illustrations

Birds of Prey

Osprey, Watercolor Illustration


osprey in flight, watercolor

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), watercolor

About the illustration:
Commissioned by: Wisconsin Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin­Madison

About ospreys:
Ospreys are raptors, which are birds that eat fish. Other names they are known by include fishhawks, seahawks or fish eagles. They are 20 to 23 inches long with about a five foot wingspan. Ospreys have adapted to be able to catch fish. For example, the nostrils are closable so ospreys can keep water out of their airways when they dive for fish. Ospreys generally mate for life. As with other birds of prey, their numbers have increasaed since the 1970s due to more care having been taken by humans with regard to pesticide use and destruction of habitat. They are found throughout the world. Nests are built in high location safe from ground predators. Man-made structures are often used, such as power poles, communication towers, and billboards.

Taxonomy:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (having a spinal chord)
Class: Aves (birds)
Order: Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey, meaning birds that hunt during the day primarily using talons)
Family: Pandionidae
Genus: Pandion
Species: P. haliaetus

More information about ospreys:
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology



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