Common Loon

photo by Phil Swanson

Gavia immer
L 32″ (81 cm).

Song or calls:
Loud, yodeling laugh.

Description: Sexes similar. Winter birds blackish above, white below, with straight, pale bill. Dark nape borders white throat in irregular line. Holds head level. Immatures similar to winter birds.

common loon
Habitat: Large open bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs.

Where in Nebraska: Fairly common spring and fall migrant in the eastern portion of Nebraska. Locally uncommon summer visitor in the west. No breeding records in Nebraska.

Nebraska Seasons: Look for migrant Common Loons April- May and Oct-Nov.

Field Notes: Excellent swimmer and diver, but awkward on land. Although a strong flier, it can only take off from water.

Fun Facts: The Common Loon has sharp, rearward pointing projections on the roof of its mouth and tongue that helps to keep a firm hold on slippery fish.

Common Loon - photo by Phil Swanson Common Loon - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)