18" long, by 6-1/2" high, by 7" wide.
smallest of the loons, the Red-throated Loon breeds at high latitudes
in North America and Eurasia. It is distinctive among loons not
only in size, but also in behavior, vocalizations, locomotion,
and other aspects of life history.
* Large waterbird, small loon.
* Thin bill, usually tilted slightly upward.
* Long body slopes to rear.
* Sits low on water.
* Relatively slim proportions overall.
* Dives under water.
* Dark gray with a red throat in summer.
* Pale gray and white in winter.
* Size: 53-69 cm (21-27 in)
* Wingspan: 100-120 cm (39-47 in)
* Weight: 1000-2700 g (35.3-95.31 ounces)
loons summer in the tundra and along arctic coastlines. Winters
are spent in the Great Lakes region and along the northern coasts
of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The birds are also found
in the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean Seas.
red-throated loon is seldom seen far from saltwater. It can be
found in estuary (combination of salt water and fresh water)
waters at the mouths of rivers. Breeding takes place in freshwater
lakes and ponds.
birds eat medium-sized fish, preferring marine (salt water) fish
to freshwater food.
is the only loon that can take off for flight from land because
it doesn't require a running start from water. It is also the
only loon species to vocalize in pairs, as mated couples do on
breeding ponds. The call is a long, low-pitched whistle with
individual notes interspersed, and both mates call at the same
Although the male chooses the nest site, both parents build the
nest from plant matter. Nests are made close to the water's edge
because loons have difficulty walking on land. Mating, however,
takes place on land. Breeding occurs May through September, and
incubation lasts twenty-four to twenty-seven days. Two eggs are
usually laid and incubation begins immediately. This means that
the first egg is larger, so the first chick is usually the healthier
of the two. When food is scarce, the second-born chicks often starve
Red-throated chicks are ready to
breed between two and three years of age, and they have been
known to live twenty-three years in the wild.
not threatened, these loons are vulnerable to oil spills and
heavy metal pollution. The red-throated loon population is declining,
though specific reasons are not known.