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Common Loon

Silhouette LoonsLoons
Common LoonGavia immer
  • ORDER: Gaviiformes
  • FAMILY: Gaviidae

Basic Description

The eerie calls of Common Loons echo across clear lakes of the northern wilderness. Summer adults are regally patterned in black and white. In winter, they are plain gray above and white below, and you’ll find them close to shore on most seacoasts and a good many inland reservoirs and lakes. Common Loons are powerful, agile divers that catch small fish in fast underwater chases. They are less suited to land, and typically come ashore only to nest.

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

On a North Woods lake in summer, loons stick out conspicuously as large, tuxedoed birds swimming about in the middle of the lake. They can be very vocal and easy to locate, as the yodeling of one loon will often elicit a chorus response from other loons in the area. In winter, loons adopt a much quieter profile along coastal waters, wearing drab, gray plumage. They typically stay close to shore, though, so a scan out to sea with your binoculars will often reveal loons hidden among the waves.

Other Names

  • Colimbo Grande (Spanish)
  • Plongeon huard (French)
  • Cool Facts