Common Loon[1]
File:Gavia immer -Minocqua, Wisconsin, USA -swimming-8.jpg
Adult in breeding plumage in Wisconsin, USA
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Aequorlitornithes
Clade: Ardeae
Clade: Aequornithes
Order: Gaviiformes
Family: Gaviidae
Genus: Gavia
Species: G. immer
Binomial name
Gavia immer
(Brunnich, 1764)[1]

Colymbus Immer

The Common Loon, Gavia immer, is a species of loon in the Gaviidae family. It is one of five species of loons, also called divers in Eurasia. This striking bird is known for its haunting cry, which echoes across freshwater lakes during the breeding season. During the winter, the same bird is a common visitor in coastal waters[2].

Other names

Great Northern Diver


It possesses solid bones which help them to dive within bodies of water and reduce their buoyancy.[3] Like other divers, it has a streamline body, small wings, and webbed feet set far back -- a feature that makes it clumsy on land, while in the water it is graceful[2].

The Common Loon possesses a dark, green black head and a white "necklace" marking around its neck. Its eyes are red and its upperparts are of a black and white "checkerboard" design[3]. During the winter, its black-and-white breeding plumage is replaced with less eye-catching shades of brownish black and grey[2].

It has a length of 28–35 inches (71–89 cm)[2][3] and a wingspan of 3.9–4.9 feet (1.2–1.5 m)[3].

Similar species

Yellow-billed Loon has an upturned bill[4].


It floats with its bill held at a characteristic upward slant[2].


It can dive up to depths of over 250 feet (76 m) to catch fish, its principle prey[2].


Owns an "alarm call", but also wails, hoots, and yodels.[3]




  1. ^ a b c Lepage, Denis. "Gavia immer". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f France, Peter, Guerrero, Angeles Gavira; et al. (2006). Ocean. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 9780756636920. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Krista Kagume (2005). Compact Guide to Ontario Birds. Lone Pine Publishing. ISBN 1551054671. 
  4. ^ Udvardy, Miklos D. F.; John Farrand Jr.; American Museum of Natural History and Susan Rayfield (1977). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0679428518. 

External links

Family Gaviidae vte

Genus Gavia vte
G. stellata Red-throated Loon
G. arctica Arctic Loon
G. pacifica Pacific Loon
G. immer Common Loon
G. adamsii Yellow-billed Loon
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