Friday, July 22, 2011

Common Loon Gavia immer

All The Birds Of North America: Common Loon Gavia immer

Built for an aquatic life, loons are clumsy on land. Their legs are set very far back on the body, an adaptation for diving that makes walking an awkward business. The Common Loon is famous for its demonic laughing call, which resounds through still summer nights in the North. These birds often swim long distances underwater; a loon may make a quick, silent dive in one part of a lake and pop up again 200 yards away.

Identification: 28-35". Large. Breeding bird has black-and-white checkerboard pattern above, with velvety black head, white necklace, white underparts, and straight, black, daggerlike bill. Winter bird and immature blackish above, whitish below, with paler bill.

Voice: Loud yodeling call on breeding grounds; wild, laughing call given at night.

: Lakes and bays; farther out to sea in migration

Range: Breeds from Alaska to S. British Columbia and east to Newfoundland and New England; winters on Great Lakes and along coasts.

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