Ospreys live on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. They live in habitats with secure nesting sites and access to shallow water with strong fish populations, including swamps, bogs, lakes and rivers. They require sizable trees, cliffs or other structures that can support large, and bulky nests that provide a substantial barrier to ground predators.
Ospreys are large birds of prey with white bellies and brown backs. Females are generally more massive than males, but are not much longer. Ospreys are adapted to fishing, with long legs, long talons and jagged textures on their feet for grasping slippery fish. They also have oily, dense feathers and nostrils that can close so they can dive into the water after their prey. This prey is almost exclusively fish, but the birds' global distribution means that the individual species they hunt vary greatly from one population to the next.
Osprey may or may not migrate seasonally. In general, groups that migrate breed to the north of non-migratory populations and live south of them the rest of the year, with little overlap in their territories. They also vary in their social habits, ranging from the highly solitary to loose colonies that not only live near each other but also hunt together, although their actual kills are made individually.