Ospreys are the only large raptors with extensive, unmarked white on the belly. Immature Bald Eagles may be extensively mottled with white on their dark brown bodies, but they don’t show the Osprey’s clean white underparts, and young Bald Eagles don’t have white heads, either. Bald Eagles are much stockier and heavier-bodied than the lanky Osprey. Red-tailed Hawks have much stouter, broad wings (without the Osprey’s kink at the wrists) and a shorter, broader tail. Though Red-tailed Hawks usually have pale underparts, they’re streaked with brown, particularly across the belly. It’s also rare to see a Red-tailed Hawk going after fish; they stick primarily to mammals. Turkey Vultures are all dark, and when soaring high in the sky, their long, broad wings are straight rather than kinked.
None in North America.
Find This Bird
Near open water with an abundant supply of fish, listen for the Osprey’s whistling or chirping calls overhead, or look for this bird's distinctive flight profile and heavy wingbeats. From spring into fall, a boat or raft on a lake or river can provide an especially good vantage point. Scan treetops and other high spots along the shore for perched adults and untidy stick nests piled atop a platform, pole, or snag out in the open.