Black-throated Loon (Gavia arctica)

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The Black-throated Loon (Gavia arctica) is a migratory aquatic bird found in the northern hemisphere. The species is known as an Arctic Loon in North America and the Black-throated Diver in Eurasia. Its current name is a compromise proposed by the International Ornithological Committee.

Breeding adults are 58 to 77 cm (23 to 30 in) in length with a 100 to 130 cm (39 to 51 in) wingspan, shaped like a smaller, sleeker version of the Great Northern Diver. Body mass is reportedly from 2–3.4 kg (4.4–7.5 lb). They have a grey head, black throat, white underparts and chequered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is drabber with the chin and foreneck white. Its bill is grey or whitish and dagger-shaped. In all plumages a white flank patch distinguishes this species from all other divers including the otherwise almost identical Pacific Diver.

This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater. It flies with neck outstretched. It feeds on fish, insects, crustaceans and amphibians.

The calls include a yodelling high-pitched wail and harsh growls, similar but lower pitched than Pacific Loon.

The Black-throated Diver is the current school emblem of Achfary Primary School.

Dr Mark Eaton, RSPB scientist traced the drop in overall numbers to warming of the North Sea which reduced stocks of the fishon which they feed.

Foto: Mihai BACIU


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