Osprey eagles are commonly spotted in the Whitsundays during a Whitsunday Catamarans tour. They are often spotted sitting in the tree tops in the firsts that blanket the Whitsunday Island slopes or soaring high above the water in search of prey. Ospreys share their habitat with white bellied sea eagles and sometimes battle for food. The eagles often force ospreys to stop fish that they have caught and then steal it midair.
You can identify ospreys by their white underparts, which is easily noticed from below. Their white heads also have a distinctive black eye stripe that goes down the side of their faces. Ospreys usually reach 60cm in length with a 1.8m wingspan. They are also slightly smaller in comparison to the white bellied sea eagle. Osprey eagles are also known as sea eagles, fish eagles or fish hawk, although technically they are a raptor.
Ospreys are completely suited to fish and do so with ease. They eat little else, with fish make up some 99 percent of their diet. They hunt by diving to the water's surface from some 30 to 100 feet (9m to 30m) up. THeir feed are designed to grab fish out of the water, with curved claws to grasp the fish for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish head first to ease wind resistance.
Most ospreys are migratory birds that breed in the north and migrate south for the winter. They lay eggs (typically three), which both parents help to incubate. You can often see their nests high in the trees in the Whitsundays.
Nesting birds are easily disturbed and often fail to breed or leave the area if the nest is approached too closely. For this reason, it’s important to use binoculars for a rewarding view without harassing these inspiring creatures to ensure they are able to lay their eggs in peace.
These coastal birds of prey, which nest on the Whitsunday Islands, indulge in spectacular aerial courtship displays in the breeding season.