|Habitat||Lakes, ocean. In Alaskan breeding range found mainly on large lakes surrounded by open tundra. In winter on ocean, probably usually within a few miles of land.|
Loons do their foraging by diving from the surface and swimming underwater. They often swim along the surface with their heads partly submerged, peering about underwater, watching for prey before they dive. They are propelled mainly by their feet, but may sometimes use their wings also when turning or in bursts of speed. Loons find their food by sight.
2, sometimes 1-3. Olive to brown, with blackish spots. Both sexes incubate (although female does more), 28-30 days. Young: Leave nest shortly after hatching, return to nest for sleeping during first few nights, then sleep on water under parents' wings. Both parents feed young. Adults may fly several miles from nesting territory to other waters to eat and to bring back food for young. Age at first flight probably 60-65 days. One brood per year.
Leave nest shortly after hatching, return to nest for sleeping during first few nights, then sleep on water under parents' wings. Both parents feed young. Adults may fly several miles from nesting territory to other waters to eat and to bring back food for young. Age at first flight probably 60-65 days. One brood per year.
Mostly fish, but more varied in summer. In winter and on ocean eats mainly small fish, including gobies, sticklebacks, herrings, cod, and others. In breeding season, diet also includes crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects. Rarely eats frogs, leeches, small amounts of plant material.
May mate for life. Courtship displays include ritualized bill-dipping and splash-diving by both members of pair. Nest: Site is in shallow water, or on island or shore near water. Nest is a heap of vegetation, sometimes mixed with mud; may rarely build floating nest. Both sexes help build nest.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Movements of Alaska birds poorly known; may winter in waters around Aleutians. Numbers are seen flying past St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea, in late spring.
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Songs and CallsSimilar to Pacific Loon, a harsh kok-kok-kok-kok. Adults on nesting ground issue an eerie, long-carrying moan or wail.
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