Gavia Immer – Common Loon

Distinguishing Features – Head and neck, black with greenish reflections; partial white collar on neck; white bar with black vertical stripes on the throat. Back, black, boldly patterned with white accents; belly, white. Bill, black, straight, tapered to a sharp point. Eye, red. Male and females are essentially indistinguishable.

  • Size – 71 – 89 cm
  • (28.5 – 35.5 in)

Common Loon


Lakes and larger rivers.


Near the water’s edge, islands. A nest is simple, usually a depression in the ground.

  • Eggs, 2; olive-green to olive-brown spotted with dark dots.
  • Incubation period 28 – 30 days.


The Common Loon is an excellent swimmer and diver. Its diet consists mainly of aquatic life such as small fish, frogs, crustaceans, and roots.

A single loon or a pair are a common sight on a northern lake where their loud call is unmistakable. It has been often described as “haunting, beautiful or thrilling” Some have even called it “blood-curdling”.

See if our post about Herring Gull is eye-catching and interesting as it seems.