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OSPREY, ŏs’ prĭ (עָזְנִיָּֽה, osprey, ospray, Eng. VSS; See Eagle. Lev 11:13 and Deut 14:12 only). The tr. osprey generally is considered incorrect. The Heb. possibly is derived from goat, hence bearded, and the suggested tr. is bearded vulture, or lammergeier, a magnificent bird still found rarely in rocky country around the desert edge. The obsolete name ossifrage (Lat. Ossifraga, bone-breaker) came from the habit, shared with the black vulture, of dropping bones, tortoises, etc. from a great height on to rocks to smash them and eat the contents. If need be this is repeated until successful.

The osprey is both passing migrant and winter visitor to Pal. It is dark brown and white and catches fish by snatching them from the surface of the water. In spring some ospreys work their way N in short hops rather than ride the thermals. Small numbers regularly visit the Huleh Nature Reserve and fish ponds of the upper Jordan valley, but they would not be well enough known to the Israelites to rate a name, far less a place in the list. However, Driver regards it as a possible tr. for Heb. רָחָם, H8164.

See also

  • Birds