Eastern Osprey (species: Pandion cristatus) in Myall Lakes NP (Gaia Guide)
Pandion cristatus
Eastern Osprey

©Charlie: Eastern osprey in flight

©Anne: An Osprey at Casuarina Beach, Lizard Island.

©Matt Edmonds: Osprey preparing to mate in Florida, USA.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Pandion
Species Pandion cristatus
Status unspecified



Distinguishing features

Adults are mainly dark-brown to blackish-brown above and white below with a white head and neck, streaked blackish-brown; a dark-brown to blackish-brown crest; a black stripe across the eye and ear; a band of reddish-brown, brown or dark-brown streaking across the breast (sparse or absent in males); a white and pale greyish-brown underwing with black carpal patches and black trim; a white to pale greyish-brown undertail; yellow irides; a black bill; and white to pale grey legs and feet. The sexes are similar in appearance but can be distinguished when together by differences in size and plumage (females are typically larger than males and usually have darker and more distinct streaking on the breast).

Juveniles are similar in appearance to adults, but can be distinguished by multiple differences in plumage and their darker, yellow-orange irides. (Australian Government)


  • From 50 cm to 65 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 145 cm to 170 cm



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus)

Audio recordings


Pair in flight, just one bird calling. Recorded at East Ballina, New South Wales in Australia.

© Marc Anderson


At Lizard Island and nearby Eagle Island, laying season begins in April and chicks can fly by late July (Domm, 1977). Osprey are occasionally seen at Casuarina Beach in flight with fish in their talons.


In Australia, they mainly feed on fish, especially mullet where available, and rarely take molluscs, crustaceans, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals. (Australian Government)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (1996). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia: Fifth Edition Penguin Books, Australia.