Osprey vs Eagle: What Are the Differences?
Eagles are one of the largest birds in the world. Ospreys are another. These two birds are often confused due to similar appearances. However, there are several differences between the two.
The biggest distinction between the two birds is size. An adult bald eagle stands about four feet tall while an adult osprey grows up to seven feet long. Another big difference is how they hunt. Bald eagles prefer to dive into water and catch fish. Ospreys, however, hunt on land by catching prey such as small mammals and reptiles.
Another huge difference between the two birds is where they live. Bald eagles can be found throughout North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. Ospreys, on the other hand, can be found across much of the globe including parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.
Comparing an Osprey and an Eagle
A bald eagle has a pure black head, a short neck, long legs, a yellow bill, and a wingspan of up to 70 inches. They are one of the largest birds that live in North America. Their diet consists mostly of fish, crustaceans, small mammals, and occasionally carrion. Bald eagles usually nest in trees, although some nests have been found on cliffs.
An osprey looks like an eagle, except it has a shorter neck and longer legs. Its body is covered in dark brown feathers. An osprey’s head is white, and it has a yellow bill. Its diet includes fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, crabs, and sometimes even insects. Ospreys normally build their nests high in tall trees.
The 3 Key Differences Between an Osprey vs Eagle
Many people think that ospreys and eagles look very similar. They both have large heads and long necks, and they both have distinctive plumage. However, there are some key differences between the two birds. Here are six things you might want to know about ospreys and eaglets.
Eagles are much larger than ospreys, standing up to 7 feet tall and weighing around 50 pounds. This makes them easier to spot than ospreys, which tend to stand around 5 feet tall and weigh just 15 pounds.
Ospreys have relatively small wingspans. Their average wingspan is 14 inches, while eagles have an average wingspan of 21 inches.
3. Feather Color
Eagle feathers are blue, black, and white. These colors make it easy to see the bird against the sky. Osprey feathers are red, brown, and gray.
Osprey vs Eagle: Size
The eagle and the osprey are both members of the Accipitridae family of raptors. While eagles are much bigger, they still aren’t nearly as big as the osprey. Eagles weigh anywhere from 14.3 lbs to 18.7 lbs, while ospreys weigh just 3.8 lbs to 5.1 lbs. So, it’s no surprise that ospreys can hunt down prey like fish, while eagles tend to eat smaller animals such as rabbits or squirrels.
However, size isn’t everything. An eagle can take on a full grown deer, whereas an osprey might struggle to catch even a small fish. And although eagles do rule the skies, ospreys are quite capable of catching fish too.
Osprey vs Eagle: Wingspan
The wingspan of an ocelot is about half an inch smaller than a house cat, while the wingspan of a hawk owl is about three times larger than an eagle’s. A peacock grows feathers twice the size of a turkey’s tail. And a flamingo’s tongue weighs more than a bird’s whole body weight.
And we don’t know how long it takes birds to grow their feathers, but we do know some take much longer to develop than others. For example, a duckling needs to grow out its downy feathers before it leaves the nest. Some baby birds are still growing their feathers when they’re born. In fact, a young chicken continues to add feathers to his or her body for several weeks after hatching.
Osprey vs Eagle: Lifespan
EEagles are known for having long lifespans, especially compared to many other birds. But ospreys beat them out. An osprey can live up to 20 years in the wild, but it can live even longer in captivity. However, there are some factors that affect how long an osprey lives. These include whether or not the bird is raised by humans, where the bird lives, what food source it eats, and the age of the bird itself.
For example, one bald eagle was tracked for over 30 years. The bird survived a crash due to human error. When the bird was hit by a car, it had been feeding on carrion for several days. This meant that the bird was probably older than most eagles. In fact, the bird was likely well into his 40s.
The eagle lived another 15 years after he was struck by the vehicle. He died peacefully in his sleep.
Osprey vs Eagle: Diet
The osprey is alternatively referred to as the fish hawk, because it eats mostly fish. Ospreys usually hunt alone, although they do occasionally team up with one another. These birds are known to dive straight into the water to catch their food. Sometimes, they’ll even swoop in close enough to pick off small insects, such as dragonflies, midges, and flies.
Most often, though, they’ll just sit and wait for unsuspecting fish to swim near their nest. When they spot something tasty, they’ll fly over to the water and drop down, catching their meal within seconds. Afterward, they’ll return to their nests to feed their young.
Osprey vs Eagle: Colors
The osprey and eagle are pretty similar birds, but there are some differences you’ll notice when spotting one in the wild. Both species are large raptors, and both love fish. But while eagles are well-known for their brilliant coloration, ospreys are much less colorful. They’re mostly white except for a small brown spot near their eyes, and their chests and tails are light brown. This makes them easier to distinguish from each other in flight.