Common Loon – Minnesota State bird
Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Description: Known for its black-and-white with red eyes and a distinct yodel, the Common Loon is a powerful swimmer and diver, even moments after hatching.
Year Designated: 1961
|Life Span||30 Years|
|Wing Span||104-131 cm|
Taxonomic Serial Number 174469
Compared to the Average State Bird
How the Common Loon measures up:
- Wing span: 95 cm and 264% larger than the average state bird’s wingspan, (36 cm).
- Weight: 6,015 g, 7,077%, and 72 times heavier than the average state bird’s weight (85 g)
- Length: 64 cm, 237%, and 3.4 times longer than the average state bird’s length (27 cm)
|Appearance||Common loons have a black head, red eyes, white breast, and black-and-white checkered back. Their beaks are incredibly sharp, and their tails are so short they are generally hidden underneath the wings.|
|Diet||Fish and invertebrates.|
|Communication Styles||Eerie, beautiful calls. Yodels, wails, and tremolos to announce its presence.|
|Migratory Behavior||Medium-distant migrant. Spends summer in freshwater lakes in northern United States and Canada and spends winter along Pacific and Atlantic coasts.|
Range of Habitation
Freshwater lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastlines.
gulls, ravens, crows, some fish such as pikes, racoons, weasels and skunks.
Mating and Breeding
|Breeding Behavior||Monogamous, but may pair with a new mate each year.|
|Nesting||Nests on the ground. Builds mound out of dead plant materials that grows along the lake’s edge.|
|Color||Olive green with brown speckles.|
|Clutch Size||1 to 3 egg(s)|
|Egg Laying Months||April to July|
Black downy feathers, able to swim and dive shortly after hatching.
|Interesting Fact||Loons can dive more than 61 m below the surface of the water in search of food.|
|Best Season to Observe||AutumnSpring|
|Observation Tips||Best seen during migration. On a North Woods lake in summer, Common Loons are very vocal and easy to locate. During winter, they are quieter and stay close to coastal shores.|
|Other Names||Great Northern Loon, Great Northern Diver|