Common loons belong to the Gaviidae family, Gaviiformes order, Aves class, and Gavia genus. The word “Loon” is because of its “goofy walk.” The scientific name of Common loon is Gavia immer. The word “Galvia” is derived from the Latin word that means “seabird,” and the word “immer” is derived from a Norwegian word meaning “ash” or Latin words (immersus/immerge) meaning “submerged.” They are called great northern divers. They are provincial birds of Ontario.
They are also included in Canadian currency, such as one dollar loonie coin. They are migratory birds that are found across North America, Greenland, and Iceland. During winter, they migrate towards North America’s Pacific, Atlantic coasts, Europe, and Iceland. They inhabit large southern lakes and coastal waters.
They are long-sized birds that can be distinguished from other types of loons by their coloration during the breeding season. They exhibit black-colored heads and bill. Feathers have black strips and white rings.
There is a distinguishing checkered black and white pattern of feathers on their back. Nonbreeding adults have brown coloration with dark necks and heads. Underparts are brownish grey, chin, lower face, and throat are white in color. Both the male and females are similar except that males have slightly greater weight as compared to females.
They exhibit moaning calls in north woods during summer, while in winter, they are silent. Because of the haunting calls exhibited by these birds, they are considered a symbol of wilderness. Their feet are present further back on their bodies. That’s why they have to swim on their bellies.
They feed on fish, crustaceans, molluscs, insect larvae, and aquatic plant life. They are monogamous and mate for life. Their nesting sites are near the edges of the water. They form their nests with the help of reeds, sticks, and grass. Their breeding season starts in summer. The courtship ritual includes making some yodeling sounds.
They have an average size of about 63 centimeters to 81 centimeters or 24 inches to 31 inches, an average weight of about 3 kilograms to 5 kilograms or 6.6 pounds to 11 pounds, average wingspan of about 100 centimeters to 136 centimeters, or 39 inches to 53 inches.
Some of the predators of these birds are humans, eagles, and osprey. The biggest threat to these birds is humans. Water pollution is the reason behind the disappearance of these birds. Besides these threats, they are considered as least concerned by International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There are approximately 640,000 Common loons in the world. Their average lifespan is 15 to 25 years.
Common Loon Call:
Common loons exhibit some yodeling (wailing) and hooting calls. These sounds can be heard in summer, while during winter, these birds remain silent.
The wailing sounds are used to locate missing mates. The yodeling sounds are aggressive and are used in defense of territory by males. The only call that is made in flight is a tremolo of 8 to 10 notes that resembles human laughter. This call is used in defense of territory during spring. The characteristic “kwuuk” call is made by parents to locate their chicks.
Because of their moaning and haunting calls, Ojibwa considered them as the symbol of death, and they are also considered to be the spirits that were denied entry to heaven by Crew.
Common Loon Orono:
Orono is a community in the province of Ontario located in Canada. Common loons are provincial birds of Orono, Ontario, and also a part of the Canadian one-dollar coin.
Common Loon Range:
They are mostly found in Canada and Northern United States. During breeding season in summer, they are found in lakes and waterways from western Greenland, Canada, northernmost United States, and Alaska. During winter, they are found across Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, western coasts of European countries, Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.
Common Loon Facts:
Some of the facts about Common loons are as follows,
- Common loons are great northern divers or great northern loons.
- They are the most abundant species of a loon in North America.
- Their most distinctive features are their large-sized bodies and aggressive yodel-like calls.
- They are omnivores and can eat fish, frogs, and insects.
- They inhabit freshwater lakes.
- They have been featured in Canadian currency, i.e., one dollar loonie coin.
- They live in the form of flocks.
- They are deep divers. They can dive 200 feet underwater.
- They are great fliers and can fly hundreds of kilometers.
- Some of the predators of these birds include osprey, eagles, and humans.
- Their biggest threat is water pollution.
- Their estimated population is 640,000 individuals.
- They are recorded as “least concern” by IUCN.
- Their average lifespan is 15 to 25 years.
Common Loon Habitat:
Common loons are most commonly found in Canada and New England. They can also be found in Alaska, Greenland, Scotland, and Iceland. They prefer colder areas near water. During summer, they inhabit small ponds, while in winter, they inhabit large lakes and coastal areas.
Common Loon Size:
Common loons are large-sized birds. Their average size is 63 centimeters to 81 centimeters or 24 inches to 31 inches. Males are slightly larger and heavier than females.
Common Loon Diet:
Common loons are omnivores. They feed on fish, insects, and frogs. These birds can dive deep underwater to hunt for fish. The loons that live near coastal areas feed on herring, rockfish, flounder, and sea trout, while the loons that live near freshwater feed on perch eat brass, sunfish, pike, and trout. They poke their heads underwater while hunting and can dive as deep as 200 feet. They can also forage by swimming underwater with the help of their feet that are set further back on their bodies. They eat small-sized fish underwater while larger ones are eaten on the surface.
Common Loon Lovell Maine:
Lovell is a town present in Maine (Oxford County) located in the United States.
The loons present in Lovell, Maine, are Red-throated loons and Common loons. Red-throated loons are the smallest and lightest in weight. Breeding adults have slender bills, which are raised, blackish-brown back, deep red throat, and grey-colored head and neck. They are called coastal birds that are found only in spring and fall migration. Common loons have different coloration, and they are found throughout the state except in southwestern Maine and along the coast.
Common Loon Behavior:
Common loons are found in the form of flocks in the breeding season. They are migratory birds and leave their breeding grounds in early September.
They have characteristic feet that are held far back on their bodies that makes them excellent underwater swimmers. But due to this reason, their walking patterns become uneasy. They exhibit wailing, yodeling and haunting sounds mostly during summer to defend their territories.
Common loons are the provincial birds of Orono, Ontario, that are found across Canada, the United States, Greenland, and Iceland. They have been included in the Canadian currency of one dollar coin. They are well known for their distinctive yodeling calls, great diving, flying, and swimming ability because of their feet pattern (held very far on their backs) and awkward walking patterns, because of which they are called loons. They have a stable population of about 640,000 individuals.