common loon (Gavia immer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.

 

IDENTIFICATION
General:

  • Length: 24 inches; Wingspan: 58 inches

  • Sexes similar

  • Large diving bird with long body that rides low in the water

  • Large bill is straight, tapers to a point, and is held horizontally

  • Feet set far back on body, and trail behind body in flight

  • Upperwings wholly dark in flight

Adult basic:

  • Pale gray bill

  • Gray-brown cap, forehead, nape, hindneck and back

  • White face, eye ring, chin, throat, foreneck and belly

  • Jagged border between white foreneck and dark hindneck

Adult alternate:

  • Black bill

  • Black head

  • Black neck with white markings

  • White chest and belly

  • Black back with white checkering and spotting

Immature:

  • Like basic-plumaged adult but often with paler bill and white             scalloping on back

Similar species:

Cormorants have hooked bills. Western, Clark's and red-necked grebes
have thinner bills marked with yellow and show white in the wings in
flight. Red-throated loon has a thinner, upturned bill that it carries
above horizontal. In basic and immature plumages its back is spangled
with white spots and its head and neck are pale gray, with a straighter
line of division with the white foreneck. Pacific loon has a shorter,
thinner bill, a sharp line dividing the pale foreneck and dark hindneck
and no white around the eye. The rare yellow-billed loon is similar in
all plumages, but has a bill that is beveled upwards at the tip and a
blockier head, and is entirely yellow beyond the gonys. In basic and
immature plumages, the head and hindneck are paler with a darker
spot to the auriculars, and back has more pattern.

 

LIFE HISTORY

Migration Status: N/A
Breeding Habitat: Wetland-open water
Nest Location: N/A
Nest Type: N/A
Clutch Size: 2
Length of Incubation: 26-31 days
Days to Fledge: 75-80
Number of Broods: 1
Diet: Primarily fish; lesser quantities of aquatic invertebrates.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION/SEASONAL OCCURRENCE

 

Relative abundance and seasonal occurrence are indicated in red below.

 

Relative abundance
     C - Common: Likely to be present in good numbers in appropriate habitat and season.
     U - Uncommon: May be present in appropriate habitat and season, often in low
            numbers.
     O - Occassional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times per season,
            sometimes low numbers.
     R - Rare: May not be recorded every year.
     Acc - Accidental: Recorded once or twice, may not be expected again for a long time.

 

Seasonal Occurrence
      Sp - Spring: March, April, May
R
      Su - Summer: June, July, August
      Fall: September, October, November
R

      Winter: December, January, February

 

 

Back to Inventory of Bird Families and Species

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