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Gaviiformes > Gaviidae

Arctic Loon

Gavia arctica

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Identification

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Uncommon and often local winter migrant to coastal bays and inshore waters. Less often, singles occur on reservoirs and larger lakes; breeds at lakes in remote northern moorland. Smaller and sleeker than Common Loon (Great Northern Diver). Larger and darker than Red-throated Loon, with straight, daggerlike bill. All plumages have white "hip patch" usually visible on swimming birds. Breeding plumage distinctive, with pale gray head and hindneck, white-checkered back. Nonbreeding plumage has an even border between gray and white on neck (jagged on Common), and gray hindneck paler than back.

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Learn more about Arctic Loon from…

Birds of North America

Comprehensive life histories of North American breeding birds