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Common Loon
(Gavia immer)

        
Common Loon
Information

                               
Length:  28 - 36"

Habitat:  Nests on freshwater lakes and rivers. Prefers lakes with islands. Winters mainly on coastal bays and inlets.
 
Common Loon
Diet:  Medium-sized fish; also crustaceans,
amphibians, and mollusks; occasionally
aquatic plants.
 
 
Identification tips for the Common Loon
 
           More photos of Common Loon
 
 
Common Loon SoundsCommon Loon sounds:  tremolo and wail
  © The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithica, New York.  Recordist: S. Pantle
 
 
Common Loon Nesting and Breeding
 
 
Range Maps
(Click map to enlarge)
 
Common Loon Breeding Range Map

Common Loon Winter Range Map

     USGS
     
Breeding Map     Winter Map (CBC)    
 
 
Behavior and Habits
The Common Loon rarely comes onto land except during mating and the nesting period. Its legs are placed far back on its body, making this bird a powerful swimmer but very awkward on land. Due its heavy body, the loon is unable to fly directly from land. Instead, it flaps its wings and runs along the surface of the water until it gains enough speed to take off.

Unlike most other birds, loons have solid bones - which increases their weight and plays a part in their excellent diving ability. They have been known to dive up to 200 feet below the surface.

The Common Loon is well known for its hauntingly beautiful voice. There are four main calls: a wail that is similar to the howl of a coyote, an undulating yodel, a soft hooting call, and a tremulous alarm call (sometimes referred to as "loon laughter").

In the early fall, Common Loons begin migrating to their winter grounds. They fly during the daytime - either singly or in groups. They spend the winter along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts, and can be found as far south as Mexico.
     
   

 

 


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