Add to favorites
Common Loon

Common Merganser
Common Kingfisher

About the Common Loon

Also known as: Great Northern Diver

The Common Loon, or Great Northern Diver, is a large species of diving bird. These duck-like birds breed in Canada, parts of the northern United States, Greenland, Alaska, and Iceland. It winters on a wider range in Northern Europe and the British Isles, as well as coastal areas in North America.

Common Loons are specialist fishers and catch their prey underwater, diving as deep as 200 feet (60 meters). They make nests of dirt and vegetation, usually close to or on the water. Chicks are semi-precocial, able to leave the nest within a day of hatching. Young birds often brood on the back of a parent, which is super-cute. The Common Loon is the state bird of Minnesota.

The natural range of the Common Loon is quite large and as of September 2014 the conservation status for this species is Least Concern.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 12 May 2008
Scientific Name Gavia immer
  • Gaviiformes
  • Gaviidae
  • Gavia
  • G. immer
Birdorable Family Loons & Grebes
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 28 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
26 to 35.8 inches
40.9 to 51.6 inches
88.2 to 215.2 ounces
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia East Asia North Africa North America Central America United States (West) United States (East)

International Names

  • 普通潜鸟 (Chinese)
  • Potáplice Lední (Czech)
  • Islom (Danish)
  • IJsduiker (Dutch)
  • Amerikanjääkuikka (Finnish)
  • Plongeon Huard / Plongeon Imbrin (French)
  • Eistaucher (German)
  • Strolaga Maggiore (Italian)
  • ハシグロアビ (Hashiguroabi) (Japanese)
  • 아비 (Abi) (Korean)
  • Islom (Norwegian)
  • Nur Lodowiec (Polish)
  • Полярная гагара (Russian)
  • Gavia Immer / Colimbo Grande (Spanish)
  • Svartnäbbad Islom (Swedish)

Related articles

T-Shirt Tuesday: Common Loon

T-Shirt Tuesday: Common Loon

This week's featured t-shirt design is our Birdorable Common Loon. Loons are currently migrating north and passing through northern Illinois, where we live. This time of year, local bird clubs organize "Looney ... more
By popular demand - the Common Loon

By popular demand - the Common Loon

We have added the Common Loon (a.k.a. Great Northern Diver) to Birdorable, which has recently been one of the most requested birds. These amazing birds with a wingspan of up to 5 ... more
Baby Birdorable: Common Loon

Baby Birdorable: Common Loon

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Here are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Common Loon. Baby Common Loons are ... more