A widespread loon across much of Coastal North America. More slender than other loons. Its straight culmen and tendency to hold bill angled upward make the bill appear upturned. Alternate Adult has gray head with red throat patch and a dark, streaky body. Basic Adult, typical in winter, has a blank-looking white face, dark crown and nape, and dark back with white speckles. The eye is surrounded by white feathering. On the similar Pacific Loon the eye is mostly surrounded by dark feathering. Juvenile is smudgy brown, streaked and speckled overall with white cheeks. In flight, thin neck droops down, creating a hump-backed look. Note that hatch-year birds have more extensive dark feathering on the head and also show white on the flanks above the waterline, which occasionally leads to them being misreported as Arctic Loons.
Length: 63 (cm) Wingspan: 91 (cm)
Usually silent at sea. Near nest site, wailing and repeated quacking, barking.
Open ocean, bays, estuaries. Nests on northern tundra.
Nests on a platform of vegetation at water's edge. The only loon able to take flight directly from land. In migration, flies low over the water.
Dives and swims to catch fish.
The bill of Red-throated Loon is small enough that, at long range, it can be hard to see clearly. If you have a difficult time making out the precise shape of a distant loon's bill, ask yourself, "Why is this not a Red-throated Loon?"
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
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|Activity||Date & Time|
|David Fix added a note to Red-throated Loon Notes||7/07/2011 at 5:04PM|