Osprey Wingspan: How Big Are They Compared To Others?

Osprey Wingspan

Osprey Wingspan

Ospreys can be found on all continents except Antarctica, though they are only seen as a non-breeding migrant in South America. Ospreys are large, distinct-looking hawks.

Ospreys are unique among hawks as they have a reversible outer toe, allowing them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind them.

Ospreys have arched wings and drooping ‘hands’ in flight, giving them a gull-like appearance. 

Ospreys fly with shallow wing flapping and soar with their wings fully extended. The Osprey is one of North America’s largest birds of prey, with a wingspan of more than 5 feet. 

On average Osprey has a wingspan of 152 – 167 cm (60 – 66 inches) or 5 – 5.9 feet. Additionally, the female ospreys are much larger than the male ospreys, with a size difference of about 20%. 

Ospreys are fish hunters. These birds hunt for fish by circling high in the sky over relatively shallow water with steady wingbeats and bowed wings. They frequently hover briefly before diving feet first to catch a fish.

Wingspan Centimeter InchFeet
Osprey 127–180 cm50–71 in4.1 – 5.9 ft

Juvenile Osprey Wingspan 

Have you ever wondered that even if you do identify an Osprey, how would you tell if it is an adult osprey or a juvenile just by looking at its wings? 

It’s not that complicated, as the young ones of birds look quite different in both appearance and size than the adult ones. 

The first thing you would notice while identifying is its overall appearance, so to help you, the Juvenile ospreys have distinct white spots on the back of their body and also have a buffy shading on their breast. 

Another way to tell if it is an adult osprey or a juvenile is to look at their eyes. Adults have yellow eyes, whereas juveniles have darker orange eyes.

However, if you are identifying or comparing on the basis of their wings, then you can easily tell apart the two by the length of their wings, that is their wingspan. 

Juvenile ospreys have a shorter wingspan than adult ospreys. On average juvenile Osprey has a wingspan of about 120-160cm (47-62 in).

Osprey Wingspan Comparison To Human 

Osprey Wingspan

Ospreys live in close proximity to humans, so these two species have regular interactions. Ospreys often come into conflict with humans, and so it raises a question in my mind who would win between the two? 

We cannot really comment on the wingspan of humans, for obvious reasons that we don’t really have wings. However, we can look at their overall lengths. 

Ospreys are extremely tolerant of humans, often nesting right next to busy highways and in densely populated cities. However, when we compare the two species, we see that humans are much larger than these tiny birds.

For instance, osprey birds have an average overall length of 52 to 60 cm, while with their wings wide open the wingspan ranges between 127–180 cm (4.1-5.9 ft). 

While the average height of a human is between 5.5 to 5.9 feet. So overall, if we account for the wingspan the bird during the flight will be bigger than us, quite interesting!

However, at rest, the ospreys are quite smaller than humans. 

Osprey Wingspan Comparison To Buzzard Wingspan

Osprey Wingspan

If we want to look even closer at the wingspan of the Osprey, we can compare the bird’s wingspan with other species of birds like the Buzzard. 

The long-legged buzzard is a species of hawk in the genus Buteo Rufinus that is found throughout Eurasia and North Africa. With broad, rounded wings and a short neck and tail, the buzzard is quite large. 

When gliding or soaring, it will frequently hold its wings in a shallow ‘V’ shape and fan the tail. Because of the lack of rising air currents on which it glides, it avoids large expanses of water as a soaring bird. The wingspan of these birds is around 110 to 130 cm (48 – 60 inches), which helps these birds to soar high. 

In comparison to the Buzzards, the Osprey has a wingspan of about 127–180 cm or 4.1 – 5.9 feet, which is more than the Buzzards. The Ospreys have a larger wingspan than the buzzards. 

Wingspan Centimeter InchFeet
Osprey 127–180 cm50–71 in4.1 – 5.9 ft
Buzzard112 to 163 cm44 – 64 in3.8 ft – 5.4 ft

Even the largest Buzzard does not surpass the wingspan size of the smallest Osprey. 

Osprey Wingspan Vs Eagle Wingspan

Another bird of prey that has quite a large wingspan is the Eagle. Many large birds of prey in the Accipitridae family are known as eagles. 

The wingspan of a bald eagle is the distance between the tips of its spread-out wings. Bald eagle wings are a miracle of lightweight design and structure.

Bald eagles are powerful, aggressive seabirds, but they, like all flying creatures, are governed by aerodynamics.

The bald eagle has a wingspan of approximately 80.3 in (204 cm), or 5.11″ feet and 7.7″ feet. In comparison to this, the wingspan of the Osprey is about 127–180 cm (50 – 71 inches) or 4.1 – 5.9 feet. 

The wingspan of the bald eagle is larger than the wingspan of the osprey. 

Wingspan Centimeter InchFeet
Osprey 127–180 cm50–71 in4.1 – 5.9 ft
Bald Eagle 154-234 cm61-92.4 in 5.11 feet to 7.7 feet

Osprey Vs Hawk Wingspan

Another bird of prey to compare is a hawk. The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common hawk in North America. The Red-tailed Hawk is well-adapted to flying in the air.

The Red-tailed Hawk is one of North America’s largest birds, and its light body mass allows it to fly quickly. Red-tailed Hawks observe their prey from high perches before swooping down smoothly and quickly to catch them.

A Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey that soars on large, rounded wings, the pinnacle of easy flight, drawing a leisurely, ascending circle even when not flapping. 

On average, their wingspan ranges from 105 to 141 cm (3 ft 5 in to 4 ft 8 in). On the other hand, the osprey has a wingspan of 127–180 cm (50 – 71 inches) or 4.1 – 5.9 feet. Here the osprey has a larger wingspan than the Red-Tailed Hawk. 

Wingspan Centimeter InchFeet
Osprey 127–180 cm50–71 in4.1 – 5.9 ft
Red-tailed Hawk105 to 141 cm41 – 55 in 3 ft 5 in to 4 ft 8 in


And that was everything you need to know about the wingspans of Osprey. I hope this article was informative enough and you got something valuable from it. 

Thank You For Reading!

Related Articles You May Like

Scroll to Top