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Red-throated Diver

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Red-throated diver
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gaviformes
Family: Gavidae
Genus: Gavia
Species: stellata
Binomial name
Gavia stellata

Red-throated Diver, known in North America as Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata*) is the smallest member of the Loon or Diver family (24" to 27").

The most widely distributed Diver, it breeds in northern Eurasia and Arctic Canada. It winters over a much wider range, on coasts and on large lakes.

Breeding adults have a grey head, red throat, white underparts and dark mantle. Non-breeding plumage is drabber with the chin, foreneck and much of the face white. Its thin upturned bill is grey or whitish; the upward turn is unique among diver species.

This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, diving over 25 feet to catching its prey.

It is the only species of diver that can take off directly from land. It flies with neck outstretched.

The call is an a yodelling high-pitched wailing.

Other region names: Cape drake, cape race, cobble, little loon, pegging-owl loon, pepper-shinned loon, rain-goose, scape-grace, sprat loon.


  • Gavia: Latin for sea smew (although Divers are not Smew); stella: Latin for starred, in reference to the white speckling on its back in winter.



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