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 Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
Despite its propensity to nest near water, the osprey is not classed as a sea eagle.
The genus, Pandion, is the sole member of the family Pandionidae, and used to contain only one species, the osprey (P. The genus Pandion was described by the French zoologist Marie Jules César Savigny in 1809.
Most taxonomic authorities consider the species cosmopolitan and conspecific.
A few authorities split the osprey into two species, the western osprey and the eastern osprey.
The osprey differs in several respects from other diurnal birds of prey.