This large uncommon Antigua and Barbudan resident is a 24 inch long sea hawk. It is black with a white head and undersides, and was named after Pandion, the King of Athens, father of Philomena and Procne. This bird winters in South America and Mexico and migrates north in spring through the Caribbean as far north as Canada and Alaska. Solitary birds may be seen perched in the mangroves at English Harbour, Indian Creek and other localities in spring, spotting for fish. They also fly between 30-100 ft hovering over a school of fish ready to dive.
It is said they can catch fish in the talons up to 4 lbs. The catch is then eaten at leisure in a habitual perch or taken to a nest to feed young or sitting female.
Nests are often built in dead trees near the water in North America, built of sticks, seaweeds, driftwood or other trash from wetlands. The nests can weigh up to half a ton. Nests are used year after year for decades. Three pink to white eggs, heavily blotched and spotted with browns, are laid. The young hatch after about a month and the young make first flights after about eight weeks and return to their nests.
Ospreys have been known to live up to 32 years and they fly about 27 mph. The maximum weight is about 3lbs 8 oz.
Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!