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Osprey Wingspan: How Big Is It & How It Compares to Other Birds

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osprey bird

Ospreys are beautiful birds that often hang out by the water. These birds are incredibly large, which makes them fantastic predators whenever they hover over the water, looking for fish. With a wingspan that can reach nearly 6 feet, it’s no shock that these birds are fast and agile when fishing.

In comparison to other birds, Ospreys are considered large predatory birds. As a result, they are larger than Red-Tailed Hawks, but they are smaller than most Eagles, like Bald Eagles. To learn more about Ospreys, their wingspan, and how their size compares to other birds, read on.

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Species name P. haliaetus
Population 460,000 individuals globally
Range All continents except Antarctica
Image Credit: Ganossi, Pixabay

Ospreys are large birds that are smaller than bald eagles but larger than Red-Tailed Hawks. You can spot the birds around bodies of water all around the globe, such as near reservoirs, rivers, and sometimes coral reefs. Often, Ospreys will lay their nests on open poles or channel markers right over the water.

The reason why Ospreys are permanently found on the water is that most of their diet comes from fish, which makes up 99% of their diet. Ospreys are so efficient at fishing that they are successful on at least 25% of their dives.

Since Ospreys feed on fish, you can find Ospreys on every continent except Antarctica. Most Osprey and Osprey species are located in North America, though. 

Osprey Wingspan

The Osprey wingspan spans 5 feet and 5.9 feet, with the female being the larger of the two sexes. Females are generally 5% to 10% longer in their wings than their male counterparts. Likewise, females often weigh 20% more than males and are 5% to 10% longer in claw, bill, and tail.

In comparison to the Ospreys’ body, its wingspan is very large. Even female wings are large in proportion to the bird’s body. As a result, the rectangle wings often look bulky and boxy when relaxing beside the Osprey’s body.

osprey flying
Image Credit: WikiImages, Pixabay
  Wingspan Range Average Wingspan
Male Osprey 60–67 inches
152–170 cm
63 inches
159 cm
Female Osprey 62–69 inches
158–175 cm
64 inches
163 cm

How Is Wingspan Measured?

The wingspan of all birds, including Ospreys, is measured from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. So, you can imagine a tape measurer stretching all the way from one tip to the other, across their chest too. This wingspan is measured whenever the wings are completely outstretched.

For the Osprey specifically, the wingspan is measured whenever the wings are practically straight. Because of how many Ospreys are found throughout the globe, the wingspan of these birds has been known for a long time now.

Osprey hunting fish
Image Credit: IainPoole, Pixabay

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Osprey Wingspan Compared to Other Birds of Prey

When most people compare the wingspan of Ospreys to other birds, they compare them to Bald Eagles and Red-Tailed Hawks since Ospreys fall in between the two. As a result, Ospreys are considered large predatory birds, even though they are smaller than most Eagles.

As you can see below, Ospreys are smaller than most other large birds, but they are larger than medium sized birds too.

Osprey 60-69 inches
153-175 cm
60 inches
152 cm
Bald Eagle 60-90 inches
153–229 cm
81 inches
206 cm
Golden Eagle 71-91 inches
180–231 cm
81.5 inches
207 cm
California Condor 108-122 inches
274–310 cm
115 inches
292 cm
Red-Tailed Hawk 42-58 inches
107–147 cm
50 inches
127 cm

Are All Bird Wings the Same?

Even though wings all look the same to the naked eye, there are major differences between the species wing types. The size, for one thing, is majorly different, but the structure of the wing type differs as well.

The main similarities between bird wings are generally the same: feathers and wing coverts. These standards are what allow all wings to classify as wings, even though they differ in other ways.

Osprey wings specifically are long and rectangle-shaped. The flight pattern of the Osprey will determine the wing’s shape. Sometimes, the Osprey will fly with straight wings. Other times, the wings will appear crooked.

osprey bird
Image Credit: Piqsels

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In Conclusion

Once again, Ospreys are large birds that can have wingspans up to 6 feet, but most Ospreys have an average wingspan of around 5 feet or 60 inches. Often, the females’ wingspans and bodies are larger than the males’.

Related Read: 5 Birds with the Largest Wingspans in the World (With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: Jemini Joseph, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.