The osprey weighs 1.4–2 kg (3.0–4.4 lb) and is 52–60 cm (20–24 in) long with a 150–180 cm (5–6 ft) wingspan (the distance between the right wingtip and left wingtip when they are spread out). The back of the bird is brown and the belly is white. The head is white with a dark stripe across the eyes. The eyes are golden to brown and the beak (the mouth of a bird) is black. The legs and feet are white with black talons (nails of a bird).
The osprey has a short tail and long, narrow wings. Males and females look similar, but males are often paler. In flight, the osprey raises its wings in an arch shape, making it look like a gull.