Red-throated Loon

Gavia stellata




Loons (Gaviidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive green to brown with black brown spots

Number of Eggs:

1 - 3

Incubation Days:

24 - 29

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground, near water.

Nest Material:

Grasses and mud.





Red-throated Loon: Small loon with scaled gray back and white underparts. Head and sides of neck are gray, throat is dark red, and nape is black-and-white striped. Eyes are red. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has white face, sides of neck, and throat. Juvenile has gray-brown head and throat.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Red-throated Loon: One to three olive green to brown eggs with black brown spots are laid in a ground nest made of grass, twigs, and mud, lined with finer materials, and built at the water's edge. Incubation ranges from 24 to 29 days and is carried out by both parents. Young start to fly at 49 to 60 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Red-throated Loon: Eats mostly fish; forages by diving from the surface and swimming underwater to pursue prey. Sometimes feeds in small flocks during winter.


Red-throated Loon: Gives a short wailing call; makes a variety of other calls on breeding grounds.

Similar Species

Red-throated Loon: Arctic and Pacific loons lack red throat patch in breeding plumage and show more contrast between dark nape and white throat in winter plumage.


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

The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X