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Red-throated Loon

From Opus

(Redirected from Red-throated Diver)

Alternative name: Red-throated Diver

Gavia stellata
Photo by GallusPhotographed at Ardnamurchan, Scotland, UK
Photo by Gallus
Photographed at Ardnamurchan, Scotland, UK

Contents

[edit] Identification

L. 53-69cm.
Wingspan 110cm
The smallest diver (loon) and often identifiable by head and bill held at an upward angle.
Adult breeding: grey-brown with scattered white steaks and spots above and whitish below. Head grey with black and white vertical stripes on the hindneck and red throat patch.
Adult non-breeding: much duller, grey-brown spotted with white above and whitish below. Dark head and hindneck merge evenly into white face and foreneck and lack the sharp contrast of other divers (loons).
Small size and slender upturned bill held at an angle are the best identification features at all seasons.

[edit] Similar Species

The rather larger Black-throated Diver/Arctic Loon, which holds its bill straight, has vertical white stripes on the sides of the neck and shows a white rear flank patch.

[edit] Distribution

Circumpolar, the most widespread and numerous diver.
Breeds in North America from the Aleutians and Alaska south to British Columbia and east to eastern Quebec, Newfoundland and Greenland. In the Palearctic breeds in Iceland, north and west Scotland, over much of Scandinavia and across northern Russia including Bear Island, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, east to the Pacific coast breeding on Sakhalin and Kamchatka.

In North America winters from the Aleutians south to north-west Mexico on the Pacific coast, the Great Lakes, and on the Atlantic south to Florida and the Gulf Coast.

Vagrant to north-west Mexico. European wintering range mainly from Iceland and Norway south to Biscay and the northern Mediterranean, also in the southern Baltic, the Black and Caspian Sea. Rarely reaches the Mediterranean coast of North Africa and a vagrant to the Azores and Canary Islands.

In the far east winters off Japan, less commonly south to Taiwan and a vagrant to Hong Kong.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species.

[edit] Habitat

Breeds beside shallow lakes and pools on moorland and tundra, sometimes slow-flowing rivers and sheltered coasts.

On passage and in winter most move to coastal waters and occurs on estuaries, bays and sheltered seas, sometimes on large inland lakes.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

Photo by polarfotoJuvenilePrestvanent in Tromso, Norway
Photo by polarfoto
Juvenile
Prestvanent in Tromso, Norway

Usually solitary but may be loosely colonial in some areas. Breeds late May-September. Nest a bare scrape beside water or a more substantial mound of vegetation built in shallow water. Eggs: 2 (rarely 1), olive-buff to dark olive-brown with sparse black blotches (75 x 48mm). Incubated by both sexes but mainly female for 24-29 days. Young tended by both sexes and fly at about 42 days

[edit] Diet

Fish caught during 60 second dives.

[edit] Vocalisation

A mournful wail


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[edit] References

  1. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  2. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition

[edit] External Links

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