A widespread loon of the West Coast. Smaller than Common; about the same length as Red-throated with a thicker neck and larger head and bill. Alternate Adult has white spots on black back, black throat, vertical lines on neck, and pale gray head and nape. Basic Adult, typical in winter, is dark brown with white cheeks and throat; vertical border on neck is uniform and contrasting. Juvenile is similar to Basic Adult but scalloped on the back. Unlike the formerly conspecific Arctic Loon (rare in U.S), does not show a large white patch above the water line on the rear flanks.
Length: 63 (cm) Wingspan: 91 (cm)
Usually silent at sea. Near nest site, yodeling, wailing, and barking calls.
Open ocean, bays, estuaries. Nests inland on northern tundra lakes.
Like other loons, awkward on land, as the legs are set so far back; requires an open runway of water to take flight. Nests on ground adjacent to water. In migration, flies low over the water often in large loose flocks.
Dives and swims to catch fish.
Expanded Life History
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