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Red-throated Loon

Silhouette LoonsLoons
Red-throated LoonGavia stellata
  • ORDER: Gaviiformes
  • FAMILY: Gaviidae

Basic Description

Red-throated Loons are among the finest fish hunters in North America, and perhaps the most graceful of all loons. They are smaller and more slender than other loons, with a smaller bill that they characteristically hold tipped slightly upward. In summer, they are a soft gray with neat stripes and a russet patch on the neck. Like other loons they dive for fish from the surface, but may also hunt from the air. They fly swiftly and are able to stall, pivot, and drop with almost falconlike precision.

More ID Info
image of range map for Red-throated Loon
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for Red-throated Loons along ocean shores and large estuaries from late autumn through early spring. They also stop on large inland lakes during migration, particularly in autumn. They can form very large flocks during migration along coasts. In winter and on migration they may mix with other loon species, so look for their slender shape and bill-up posture. On the breeding grounds, Red-throated Loons nest in ponds, sometimes very small ones.

Other Names

  • Colimbo Chico (Spanish)
  • Plongeon catmarin (French)
  • Cool Facts