Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the Field

July 21st, 2010

An osprey nestling lays low in a nest

By Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

The iris is the thin colored part of an eye that is responsible for controlling the size of the pupil and the amount of light that enters the pupil. As a hatching the iris of an osprey is blood red in color. As a nestling (pictured below) they turn to an amber or orange color. The eye color and plumage of juveniles help distinguish them from adults, which have a yellow iris. Juvenile ospreys also have “buff” or tan feather tips on their contour (body) feathers. This helps camouflage them before they can fly and it also helps distinguish them from adults, who have dark brown body feathers.

An osprey nestling relies on the cryptic coloration of its plumage to protect it from avian predators. © Ben Wurst

To see more photos of ospreys and their young, click here. Check out the slideshow at the top of the page.

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