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Pacific Loon

From Opus

Photo © by balticbird Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, June 2003
Photo © by balticbird
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, June 2003

Alternative name: Pacific Diver

Gavia pacifica


[edit] Identification

Non-breedingPhoto © by SandpiperFarnham, North Yorkshire, UK, February 2007
Photo © by Sandpiper
Farnham, North Yorkshire, UK, February 2007

51–64·5 cm (20-25½ in), Wingspan 118cm
Adult breeding: white-chequered black back and dove-grey head but paler nape area more extensive and throat patch has purple (not green) iridescence.
Adult non-breeding: dark-grey brown above clearly demarcated from white underparts (as in Arctic Loon/Black-throated Diver) but may lack conspicuous white flank patch seen on swimming birds.

[edit] Similar Species

Slightly smaller than the Arctic Loon/Black-throated Diver but smaller and with a finer bill.

[edit] Distribution

Non-breedingPhoto © by ReaderFarnham, North Yorkshire, February 2007
Photo © by Reader
Farnham, North Yorkshire, February 2007

Breeds in north-eastern Siberia and in northern North America from Alaska east to Hudson Bay. Winters off Japan and the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California and commonly in the Gulf of California. May occur as a rare winter vagrant to the Atlantic coast but these birds may belong to Black-throated Diver.

Accidental vagrant in the eastern United States.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Breeds on medium-large lakes and winters at sea.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

Breeds early-May to September (later in the north of their range).

It builds nests beside water often on an island or spit, a shallow scrape or sometimes a substantial mound of vegetation built in shallow water. It lays 2 eggs which are olive brown with black blotches. Both sexes incubate for approx 28 days.

The young feed themselves at 35 days and fly at 60 days.

[edit] Diet

Fish, also molluscs and crustaceans.

[edit] Vocalisation

Wailing, croaking and cackling calls.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Avibirds

[edit] External Links


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