Absolute Predator

 

 

Sea Hawk

Sea Hawk

 

 

Sea Hawk Alternative Names 

 

Sea hawks 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.  

 

Sea Hawk Appearance 

 

Sea hawks 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.  

 

One 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.  

 

Male and 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 

 

The Sea 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.  

 

These 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.  

 

Sea Hawk Habitat

 

Sea Hawk Habitat 

 

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.

 

 

 

  

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