Common Loon

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Birds In Flight

Size: 13-1/2" long.

Price: $79.00 US


Breeding adult (Alternate Plumage): Head, neck, wings, and sides black. Back has large white checkered markings. Chest white. White neck ring with vertical black bars; patch of smaller stripes below throat. Stripes on side of chest. Bill black. Eyes red.

Nonbreeding adult (Basic Plumage): Upperparts gray to gray-brown. Underparts and throat white. Irregular border of dark and light along neck. Wedge of white extending from throat to back of neck. White crescents around eye. Bill silvery-gray with black upper edge. Eyes dark.


Summer Range - Breeds across Alaska and Canada, southward to northern United States and Yellowstone region. Also in Greenland, Iceland, and rarely in Scotland.

Winter Range - Winters along both coasts and inland on large lakes from Alaska to southern Mexico, and Newfoundland to eastern Mexico. Also winters in Europe from Iceland to the Mediterranean.


Breeds on clear freshwater lakes with rocky shorelines surrounded by forest; also on subarctic tundra lakes. Stages for migration on large lakes and rivers. Winters primarily in coastal marine areas near shore; also in large freshwater lakes.


Forages on fish, as well as some other aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates.


Consrtructs its nest on a large wet mass of plant material near the surface of the lake, sometimes on top of muskrat mound or placed along shoreline or on floating island. The eggs are brown with dark splotches.

Conservation Status:

Numbers decreased across the south part of the range in the early to mid-20th century, but increased in the last third of the century. Poisoning by mercury in aquatic ecosystems and by lead from fishing sinkers can be significant caues of death.

The North American Loon Fund is a nonprofit conservation organization that sponsors research, management, and educational programs throughout North America in an effort to check the population decline of the Common Loon and other loon species.

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