Red-throated Loon

Gavia stellata

Order

GAVIIFORMES

Family

Loons (Gaviidae)

Code 4

RTLO

Code 6

GAVSTE

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Red-throated Loon, also known as the Red-throated Diver, is a bird found in aquatic habitats in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed loon, and migrates to southern regions during the winter months. This bird is unable to walk on land, and breeds in Arctic regions of northern Europe, Asia and North America. Winters are spent in coastal waters along the Baja California Peninsula and Gulf of California, as well as northwestern Mexico. This species feeds on fish, mollusks, crustaceans, frogs, invertebrates, insects and vegetation. The current conservation rating for the Red-throated Loon is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Red-throated Loon: Small loon with scaled gray back and white underparts. Head and sides of neck are gray, throat is dark red, nape is black-and-white striped. Eyes are red. Feeds on fish, dives to 90 feet for them. Direct flight, rapid wing beats. Only loon to leap into flight from water or land.


Range and Habitat

Red-throated Loon: Breeds in Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and Canadian Arctic south to British Columbia, northern Manitoba, and Newfoundland. Spends winters south along Pacific coast to southern California and along the Gulf Coast and Florida; also found in northern Eurasia. Preferred nesting habitats are tundra lakes and arctic coasts.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kwuk-kwuk-kwuk"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Red-throated Loon, also known as the Red-throated Diver, is the smallest and most widely distributed member of the loon family.
  • As recently as the 1800s, they were thought to be a foreteller of storms; birds flying inland or giving short cries predicted good weather, while those flying out to sea or giving long, wailing cries predicted rain.
  • Unlike other loons, it does not carry its young on its back.
  • A group of loons has many collective nouns, including an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", and "water dance" of loons.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Red-throated Loon

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X