Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata
(aka Red-throated Diver)
Adult winter Red-throated Diver, Aberlady, Lothian, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image Scotland

The Red-throated Loon breeds in very high latitudes round the Arctic in both Eurasia and North America. It also breeds in north-west Scotland.

Juvenile Red-throated Diver, Aberlady, Lothian, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image Its manner of holding its bill pointing upwards is characteristic as is its straight or flat chest. In summer the adult has a grey head with a dark red neck patch which often looks black at a distance. (See photo 3) In winter plumage, as seen in the first photo, more than half the neck is white and there is extensive white on the head including a small area in front of the eye.
Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, Northmavine, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, June 2004 - click for larger image The juvenile in the second photo shows less white on the neck and head.

It likes small to large bodies of inland and coastal water but prefers areas without trees. In the winter it moves to warmer coastal waters around north-west Europe and both shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, Birsay, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image They have spectacular displays involving rapid dashes across the surface of the water as shown in photos 4 and 7. Photo 5 shows a female on the nest on the bank with the male in attendance on the loch.

They feed mainly on fish which they pursue underwater and catch in their bill rather than spearing their prey.

Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, Birsay, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 1, Pages 162, 164, 167 and 171.
Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, Birsay, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage, Northmavine, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, June 2004 - click for larger image
Previous Page Back to Index Next Page

If you do not see a menu on the left, you may have arrived at this page from another site. Please click Home to get to my main page. Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites