The genus gavidae is formed by five species exclusively from the Northern Hemisphere. All of them are rather large birds, breeding in the arctic and boreal zone of Eurasia and North America. Although ranges overlap a great deal, identification is pretty straightforward. The bills are so distinctive that it is easy to tell them apart, with the exeption of the Pacific and Arctic Divers which are rather similar.
yellow in breeding plumage and pale yellow to ivory in wintering plumage. Breeding plumage has
black upper parts with striking white spots, black head and neck with purple and green gloss, and
white chest and abdomen; non-breeding plumage is gray-brown. In all plumages, top part of
culmen (ridge of upper mandible) is yellow and distinguishable from other species of loon. Like other loons, this species has a highly modified leg and pelvis structure
well-adapted for swimming and diving but allowing almost no ability to walk; therefore, loons
place nests at the water’s edge and must take flight from wate
Listen to the sound of Yellow-billed Loon
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||135||cm||wingspan max.:||150||cm|
|size min.:||77||cm||size max.:||90||cm|
|incubation min.:||24||days||incubation max.:||25||days|
|fledging min.:||70||days||fledging max.:||25||days|
and brood-rearing lakes that are large enough to allow easy take-off from open water; form an icefree moat around shore in early spring; have clear water supporting a substantial overwintering population of small fishes; have segments of gently sloping shoreline in which nesting and brooding occurs; and have sheltered, vegetated areas, where young chicks rest and take refuge during disturbances. Nests placed at the water’s edge, typically in a low, gently sloping area. Deep open water with islands is a preferred habitat for nesting relative to its availability. Most nests are placed on the leeward lake or island shore.
Gavia arctica is a widespread breeder across much of northern Europe, which accounts
for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population
is relatively small (<92,000 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although most European populations-including sizeable ones in Sweden and Finland-were stable or increased during 1990-2000, the species continued to decline in Norway and its Russian stronghold, and underwent a large decline (>30%) overall.
Consequently, it is provisionally evaluated as Vulnerable.
This bird is breeding in the arctic and boreal regions of Eurasia. The breeding population of the European Union, entirely restricted to Scotland, amounts to 150-160 breeding pairs and seems stable (Tucker & Heath). Elsewhere this species is decreasing due to habitat changes, increasing disturbance by humans, predation, decreasing fish populations following over-fishing and acid rains and oil pollution at sea.
Breeds in northern Scotland and the Hebrides, over much of Scandinvia and the Baltic States and across Russia to Sakhalin and Kamchatka, probably also northern China. Breeds in western Alaska but range unclear due to similarity of this species and recently split Pacific Diver G. pacifica. In winter ranges from the Baltic south to Biscay, the northern Adriatic and Black and Caspian Seas and a vagrant on the North African coast and the Canary Islands. In the far east winters off Japan, China and Taiwan. May also occur on Atlantic coast of North America.