Gavia arctica - Arctic loon:

Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Gaviidae / Gavia / Species

This section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. Although it identifies that taxonomic interrelationships of species (see "header") it does not currently contain detailed information on the bird species itself. As WILDPro is developed, we will gradually convert these pages into full Species pages.

The taxonomy of birds is still under review and the A World Checklist of Birds by Burt L. Monroe, Jr and Charles G. Sibley (B89) has been chosen as the primary reference. The taxonomic structure will be amended when new editions or complete references are identified by the scientific world as the recognized primary references for taxonomy.

Alternative Names
  • Gavia arctica arctica - Black-throated loon (B89)
  • Gavia arctica viridigularis - Green-throated loon (B89)
  • Black-throated loon (B164)
  • Black-throated diver (B163)
Distribution General Range: Northern Palearctic, western Alaska; winters to Mediterranean, southern Asia(B89)
  • London: In the London Area, a "rare winter visitor and occasional migrant." Perhaps two birds are seen per year. (J322.65.w1)
Habitat Breeding - Clear, large fish-holding freshwater lakes to small pools or sea bays without tide in boreal to arctic waters (where water level does not fluctuate) (B164, B163)
Further Information Feeding:
  • food - mainly fish (especially in winter); also eats aquatic invertebrates (insects, crustacean) and sometimes quite a lot of aquatic vegetation
  • feeding behaviour - surface dives


  • location and structure - platform of wet mud and vegetation, lined with vegetation at edge of shallow water
  • nest building - mainly male (sometimes female assists)
  • breeding structure - monogamous


  • markings - patterned
  • number of eggs - 2 (1-3)
  • broods - one brood per season
  • incubation - by male and female; 28-30 days


  • development - Precocial; fed by parents
  • parental caring for young - by male and female
  • fledging - 60-65 days

(B163, B164)

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

General Legislation:

  • All Divers are listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)

Individual techniques:

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