Common Loon

Gavia immer

Order

GAVIIFORMES

Family

Loons (Gaviidae)

Code 4

COLO

Code 6

GAVIMM

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2017 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Loon is a common diving bird which may also be called the Great Northern Diver in North America. Preferred breeding grounds include Canada, the northern United States, Greenland and Alaska. Some isolated populations are also found in Iceland. In winter months, this species migrates to sea coasts or large lakes throughout northern Europe, North America and the British Isles. It feeds on both salt and fresh water fish, including pike, trout, bass, flounder and herring. When diving for food, this bird may reach as far as 200 feet under water to catch its prey. The conservation rating for the Common Loon is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Loon: Large loon, white-spotted, black upperparts and white underparts. Head, neck are green-black with white-streaked neckbands. Bill is black and thick. Eyes are red-brown. Dives for small fish and crustaceans. Direct flight on strong deep wing beats, head, neck and feet extend beyond body.

 

Range and Habitat

Common Loon: Breeds from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and northern Canada south to Washington, Montana, and Massachusetts; may occur further south, also breeds in Greenland and Iceland. Spends winters along the Great Lakes, and the Gulf, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts. Preferred nesting habitat is on forested lakes and rivers; winters mainly on coastal bays and oceans.

whatbird search for your browser

Common Loon SONGS AND CALLS

Common Loon DD1

Haunting wail calls often serve as contact calls between a pair.

Common Loon A1

Tremolo calls are used for alarm calls.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"oo-AH-ho", "kee-a-ree"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The strange “yodel” or “loon laughter” of the Common Loon was described by the famous naturalist John Muir.
  • They make underwater fishing dives of up to 200 feet below the surface. They are adapted for diving with heavy bones and eyes that can focus both in air and water.
  • This bird is the state bird of Minnesota. It also appears on the “loonie” coin in Canada.
  • A group of loons has many collective nouns, including an "asylum", "cry", "loomery", "raft", and "water dance" of loons.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X