Common Loon Identification

The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Common Loons are large, diving waterbirds with rounded heads and dagger-like bills. They have long bodies and short tails that are usually not visible. In flight, they look stretched out, with a long, flat body and long neck and bill. Their feet stick out beyond the tail (unlike ducks and cormorants), looking like wedges.

    Relative Size

    Larger and longer-bodied than a Mallard, smaller and shorter-necked than a Canada Goose.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 26.0-35.8 in (66-91 cm)
      • Weight: 88.2-215.2 oz (2500-6100 g)
      • Wingspan: 40.9-51.6 in (104-131 cm)