(Pandion haliaetus)


Picture of bird
© Andrew A Reding - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Osprey is a widespread species in Canada, hunting for fish in shallow waters across many different habitat types. The Breeding Bird Survey indicates that the national population has increased since 1970. This increase is thought to be largely a result of the reduction of toxic contaminants and the proliferation of artificial nest structures that the Osprey readily accepts as a nest platform (Bierregaard et al. 2016). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

The species was historically affected by shooting (Bierregaard et al. 2016). Some shooting still exists for overwintering Osprey attracted to aquaculture facilities in South America (Bierregaard et al. 2016). Persistent organochlorine pesticides were implicated in severe and widespread declines of the species during the 1950s to the 1970s. Reduction of these pesticides has likely been responsible for the striking increase in the population since then (Bierregaard et al. 2016). However, contamination of polybrominated biphenyl ether has become widespread in Osprey; the impacts of this contaminant on reproduction are currently unknown (Bierregaard et al. 2016). Other factors influencing the species' abundance are its ability to adapt to man-made structures such as utility poles, channel markers, and artificial nest platforms (Bierregaard et al. 2016, Ewins 1996).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, PE -- Stewardship