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The genus name Pandion derives from the mythical Greek king of Athens and grandfather of Theseus, Pandion II.Although Pandion II was not used to name a bird of prey, Nisus, a king of Megara, was used for the genus.There are four generally recognised subspecies, although differences are small, and ITIS lists only the first two. Warter in 1976 from fossils of Middle Miocene, Barstovian age, found in marine deposits in the southern part of California.The second named species Pandion lovensis, was described in 1985 by Jonathan J. A number of claw fossils have been recovered from Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments in Florida and South Carolina.The breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, or is non-existent, and the underwing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale.It is straightforward to determine the sex in a breeding pair, but harder with individual birds.
Even the few subspecies are not unequivocally separable.
the word itself was first recorded around 1460, derived via the Anglo-French ospriet and the Medieval Latin avis prede "bird of prey," from the Latin avis praedæ though the Oxford English Dictionary notes a connection with the Latin ossifraga or "bone breaker" of Pliny the Elder. The wing chord measures 38 to 52 cm (15 to 20 in), the tail measures 16.5 to 24 cm (6.5 to 9.4 in) and the tarsus is 5.2–6.6 cm (2.0–2.6 in).
The osprey is 0.9–2.1 kg (2.0–4.6 lb) in weight and 50–66 cm (20–26 in) in length with a 127–180 cm (50–71 in) wingspan. The upperparts are a deep, glossy brown, while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white.
Becker from fossils found in Florida and dating to the latest Clarendonian and possibly representing a separate lineage from that of P. The oldest recognized Pandionidae family fossils have been recovered from the Oligocene age Jebel Qatrani Formation, of Faiyum, Egypt.
However they are not complete enough to assign to a specific genus.