Sea Hawk Alternative
are called by many names. They may be known as fish hawks,
fish eagles and ospreys. They are scientifically called
Pandion haliaetus. The other names of the species
are perhaps more accurate terms since sea hawks don’t really
frequent the sea very much. They obtain most of their food
from fresh water sources. Since they hunt for their food,
they are considered raptors or birds of prey.
are large birds measuring at about 56 cm or more. They have
a maximum wingspan of about 180 cm and weigh at around 2.2
kg. Their feathers are a simple mixture of brown and white.
They are characterized by white feathers on their head and
brown cheek patches. They have brown eyes, black talons,
black beaks and white feet. Young hawks have more generous
amounts of feathers but they lose much of their fluffiness
as they grow older.
distinct characteristic of sea hawks is their wings. They
have narrow wings with four long feathers and a fifth short
feather. This fifth feather almost has the appearance of a
vestigial part. This means this fifth feather may have been
a vital part of their wing structures in the past but may
have lost part of their functions through time because of
evolution. As experts note though, the fifth feather is
almost vestigial but is not fully confirmed to be so.
female sea hawks apparently look almost the same. Females
however are slightly rounder or fuller than the males. Most
other raptors share this distinction between genders. The
female breast bands among sea hawks are also darker than
male bands upon closer scrutiny.
Sea Hawk Diet
hawk is primarily freshwater fish eater. It is
estimated that more than ninety percent of their diet
consists of fish. This is a major reason why these hawks
have developed specialized traits and behaviors that make
them best suited for hunting fish.
hawks initially hover above the water and then move down
into the water with their feet first, catching the fish with
their strong talons. They are able to go 1 m below the
surface, adjusting their methods of water entry depending on
the location of the prey underwater. They have to move in at a
steeper angle if they wish to catch fish that swim
slow. A fast
dive on the other hand is needed to get equally fast surface
fish. Sea hawks are able to succeed with their unique
hunting style because they have nostrils that can close.
These birds can be found
in many places around the world except in Antartica. They
prefer to inhabit areas with forests and wetlands that are
close to their food source. Three subspecies namely
Pandion haliaetus haliaetus, Pandion
haliaetus carolinensis, Pandion
haliaetus ridgwayi, are found above the equator. A fourth
subspecies, the Pandion
haliaetus cristatus can be found in
Australia and Tasmania.