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During spring, barring on the underwings and flight feathers is a better indicator of a young bird, due to wear on the upperparts.In flight, the osprey has arched wings and drooping "hands", giving it a gull-like appearance.
It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common names suggest, the osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish.
It possesses specialised physical characteristics and exhibits unique behaviour to assist in hunting and catching prey.
The osprey is 0.9–2.1 kg (2.0–4.6 lb) in weight and 50–66 cm (20–26 in) in length with a 127–180 cm (50–71 in) wingspan. The upperparts are a deep, glossy brown, while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white.
It is, thus, of similar size to the largest members of the Buteo or Falco genera. The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck.