Monday, October 29, 2012

Black-throated Loon

Gavia arctica
Meet the Black-throated Loon, also known as the Arctic Loon and the Black-throated Diver. (The name we'll use today is a compromise between the other two names, a name thought up by the International Ornithologists Union). These migratory birds can be found across Europe and Asia, breeding in the northern, Arctic areas, and wintering further south. There are also some populations in Alaska and Canada.

Black-throated Loons have grey faces, black throats, and checked backs. Their breeding plumage also differs from their non-breeding plumage-- non-breeding has a white chin and drabber hues overall.

As the "Diver" name suggests, these birds are experts at diving for their food. They plunge underwater to catch their prey, which consists of fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.

Black-throated Loons are listed at Least Concern because they have a truely gigantic range, and because their population is very large. While it is on a slight decline, it is estimated that there are as many as 1.5million of them.

Check out the video below to hear some of their calls!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, Asia, North America
Size : Body length up to 30in (77cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Gaviiformes
Family : Gaviidae -- Genus : Gavia -- Species : G. arctica

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