French: Plongeon catmarin
Spanish: Colimbo Chico
Common Names: Red-throated Loon or Rain Goose
Photo of an adult in breeding plumage with a chick by Sindri Skulason. Sexes are alike although the male is slightly larger. They moult to a dowdy grey and white grab for their non-breeding plumage. Distinguished from other divers by its narrow bill which is generally tilted slightly upwards. They are the smallest of its family. Unlike other divers, they do not need to patter on the water's surface on a long takeoff but rather can take flight directly from land if necessary.
Distribution: Summer Range: Coastal and inland tundra in Alaska, northern Canada, across extreme northern Europe and Russia.
Winter Range: Along the Pacific Coast from Aleutian Islands to Baja California and on the Atlantic Coast from southern Newfoundland to Georgia. Small numbers have been recorded on the lower Great Lakes and also on temperate near-shore waters off Europe and Asia.
Habitat: Low tundra wetlands, bogs and ponds in forests. In migration, flocks stage on large lakes. Winters in relatively shallow, sheltered marine habitat.
Food: Marine and freshwater fish.
Breeding: Pairs return to their breeding territories during April and March to September. During this time they are in their Summer Range. This is the only loon to have duet vocalizations, given by pairs on breeding ponds.
Nest: Two nest types: Some nests are made of grass and moss and placed on low shorelines. Others are actually in shallow water, built up with aquatic vegetation. The same nest is used in successive years.
Eggs: 2 eggs are laid. They are elongated, with variable color ranging from brown to olive, with blotches or speckles.
Incubation: 24–27 days
Nestling: The chick has down and is active when it hatches. They are capable of swimming within 12 to 24 hours and can fly after 38 days. This is the only loon that does not carry chicks in their backs.