This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10 years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html#.
Behaviour Individuals in the tropics and subtropics are resident, but others migrate to the lower latitudes of the Amazon Basin, South America’s northern coast, or West Africa in the non-breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Migrants begin moving to lower latitudes in August and arrive by October, returning in March and April (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Birds are generally solitary and usually migrate alone, but may congregate in small groups at roosts or plentiful food sources (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The species migrates on broad fronts and is not dependent on land bridges during migration (Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001); birds readily cross bodies of water using flapping flight, but can soar easily over land. It is entirely diurnal (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat It inhabits the areas around shallow waters, being sufficiently tolerant of human settlement to persist in suburban and sometimes urban environments (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet Almost its entire diet consists of live fish (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site Birds usually build large nests high in exposed trees (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information Reintroduction has helped populations to recover across parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1994).
Human persecution was the main historical threat, prevalent from the 18th-20th centuries (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). A combination of deforestation and the collection of eggs and live birds drove the species extinct in Azerbaijan (del Hoyo et al. 1994). In the U.S.A. (and to a lesser extent elsewhere), numbers fell significantly from 1950-1970 as a result of pesticide use, although they are now recovering, as they are in Scotland where the species had been extirpated by collection and hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Pesticide use has now been reduced to a minor threat, but shooting still affects many birds on migration in the Mediterranean, notably in Malta. A few Australian birds are apparently impacted by local human disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is very highly vulnerable to the effects of potential wind energy development (Strix 2012).
Related state of the world's birds case studies
Butcher, G. S.; Niven, D. K. 2007. Combining data from the Christmas bird count and the breeding bird survey to determine the continental status and trends of North American birds.
Butler, C. J. 2003. The disproportionate effect of global warming on the arrival dates of short-distance migratory birds in North America. Ibis 145: 484-495.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 1994. The taxonomy and species of birds of Australia and its territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists" Union, Melbourne.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Edwards, S. V.; Kingan, S. B.; Calkins, J. D.; Balakrishnan, C. N.; Jennings, W. B.; Swanson, W. J.; Sorenson, M. D. 2005. Speciation in birds: Genes, geography, and sexual selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102: 6550-6557.
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to "Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world". Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Solonen, T. 2008. Large-scale climatic phenomena and timing of breeding in a local population of the Osprey Pandion haliaetus in southern Finland. Journal of Ornithology 149: 229-235.
Strix. 2012. Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development. BirdLife International, Cambridge.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Pandion haliaetus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Species name author||(Linnaeus, 1758)|
|Population size||500000 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||31,500,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- Projected distributions under climate change