The loons (North America) or divers (United Kingdom / Ireland) are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Eurasia. All living species of loons are members of the genus Gavia, family Gaviidae and order Gaviiformes.

Temporal range: ?Late Eocene – Recent (see text)
37–0 Ma
The Pacific loon (Gavia pacifica) is the sister species of the black-throated loon (G. arctica)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gaviiformes
Family: Gaviidae
Coues, 1903[1]
Genus: Gavia
Forster, 1788
5 species

Colymbidae Vigors, 1825 (but see text)
Colymbinae Bonaparte, 1831 (but see text)
Urinatores Vieillot, 1818
Urinatoridae Vieillot, 1818
Urinatorides Vieillot, 1818

Colymbus Linnaeus, 1758 (but see text)
Urinator Lacépède, 1799


Loons, which are the size of a large duck or a small goose, resemble these birds in shape when swimming. Like ducks and geese, but unlike coots (which are Rallidae) and grebes (Podicipedidae), the loon's toes are connected by webbing. The loons may be confused with the cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae), which are not too distant relatives of divers, and like them are heavy-set birds whose bellies, unlike those of ducks and geese, are submerged when swimming. Loons in flight resemble plump geese with seagulls' wings that are relatively small in proportion to their bulky bodies. The bird points its head slightly upwards while swimming, but less so than cormorants. In flight, the head droops more than in similar aquatic birds.

Archibald Thorburn Plate 77

1918 illustration of a variety of divers by Archibald Thorburn. Top: Common loon, Mid-left: red-throated loon, Mid-right: yellow-billed loon, Bottom: black-throated loon

Gavia immer -Marshfield, Vermont, USA -flying-8 (5)

Common loon flying exhibiting the typical flight profile of a Gavia species

Plongeon imbrin ailes

Common loon (Gavia immer) rearing up. Note the plump body and pointed but rather short wings

Yellow-billed Loon

Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) in winter plumage

Male and female loons have identical plumage, which is largely patterned black-and-white in summer, with grey on the head and neck in some species. All have a white belly. This resembles many sea-ducks (Merginae) – notably the smaller goldeneyes (Bucephala) – but is distinct from most cormorants, which rarely have white feathers, and if so, usually as large rounded patches rather than delicate patterns. All species of divers have a spear-shaped bill.

Males are larger on average, but relative size is only apparent when the male and female are together. In winter, plumage is dark grey above, with some indistinct lighter mottling on the wings, and a white chin, throat and underside. The specific species can then be distinguished by certain features, such as the size and colour of the head, neck, back and bill. But reliable identification of wintering divers is often difficult even for experts – particularly as the smaller immature birds look similar to winter-plumage adults, making size an unreliable means of identification.[2]

Gaviiformes are among the few groups of birds in which the young moult into a second coat of down feathers after shedding the first one, rather than growing juvenile feathers with downy tips that wear off, as is typical in many birds. This trait is also found in tubenoses (Procellariiformes) and penguins (Sphenisciformes), both relatives of the loons.[3]

Behaviour and ecology

Loons swimming in Wood Lake, BC on a summer morning

Loons are excellent swimmers, using their feet to propel themselves above and under water. However, since their feet are located posteriorly on the body, loons have difficulty walking on land. Thus, loons avoid coming to land, except when nesting or severely injured.[4]

Loons fly strongly, though they have high wing-loading (mass to wing area ratio), which complicates takeoff. Indeed, most species must run upwind across the water's surface with wings flapping to generate sufficient lift to take flight.[5] Only the red-throated loon (G. stellata) can take off from land. Once airborne, loons are capable of long flights during migration. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, who have implanted satellite transmitters in some individuals, have recorded daily flights of up to 1078 km in a 24-hour period, which probably resulted from single movements.[6] North European loons migrate primarily via the South Baltic and directly over land to the Black Sea or Mediterranean. Loons can live as long as 30 years and can hold their breath for as long as 90 seconds while underwater.[7][8]

Diet and feeding

Loons find their prey by sight. They eat mainly fish, supplemented with amphibians, crustaceans and similar mid-sized aquatic fauna. Specifically, they have been noted to feed on crayfish, frogs, snails, salamanders and leeches. They prefer clear lakes because they can more easily see their prey through the water. The loon uses its pointy bill to stab or grasp prey. They eat vertebrate prey headfirst to facilitate swallowing, and swallow all their prey whole.

To help digestion, loons swallow small pebbles from the bottoms of lakes. Similar to grit eaten by chickens, these gastroliths may assist the loon's gizzard in crushing the hard parts of the loon's food such as the exoskeletons of crustaceans and the bones of frogs and salamanders. The gastroliths may also be involved in stomach cleaning as an aid to regurgitation of indigestible food parts.

Loons may inadvertently ingest small lead pellets, released by anglers and hunters, that will contribute to lead poisoning and the loon's eventual death. Jurisdictions that have banned the use of lead shot and sinkers include but are not limited to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, some areas of Massachusetts, Yellowstone National Park, Great Britain, Canada, Michigan, and Denmark.[9]


Loons nest during the summer on freshwater lakes and/or large ponds. Smaller bodies of water (up to 0.5 km2) will usually only have one pair. Larger lakes may have more than one pair, with each pair occupying a bay or section of the lake. The red-throated loon, however, may nest colonially, several pairs close together, in small Arctic tarns and feed at sea or in larger lakes, ferrying the food in for the young.[7][8]

Loons mate on land, often on the future nest site, and build their nests close to the water, preferring sites that are completely surrounded by water such as islands or emergent vegetation. Loons use a variety of materials to build their nests including aquatic vegetation, pine needles, leaves, grass, moss and mud. Sometimes, nest material is almost lacking. Both male and female build the nest and incubate jointly for 28 days. If the eggs are lost, the pair may re-nest, usually in a different location. Since the nest is very close to the water, rising water may induce the birds to slowly move the nest upwards, over a meter.[7][8]

Gavia immer -Osgood Pond, New York, USA -nest-8a

Common loon on the nest

Juvenile red throated diver

Juvenile red-throated loon


Common loon feeding its young

Immature loon with crayfish

Immature common loon with crayfish

Despite the roughly equal participation of the sexes in nest building and incubation, analysis has shown clearly that males alone select the location of the nest. This pattern has the important consequence that male loons, but not females, establish significant site-familiarity with their territories that allows them to produce more chicks there over time. Sex-biased site-familiarity might explain, in part, why resident males fight so hard to defend their territories.[10]

Most clutches consist of two eggs, which are laid in May or June, depending upon latitude. Loon chicks are precocial, able to swim and dive right away, but will often ride on their parents' back during their first two weeks to rest, conserve heat, and avoid predators. Chicks are fed mainly by their parents for about six weeks but gradually begin to feed themselves over time. By 11 or 12 weeks, chicks gather almost all of their own food and have begun to fly.[7][8]

Biologists, especially from Chapman University, have extensively studied the mating behaviour of the common loon (G. immer). Contrary to popular belief, pairs seldom mate for life. Indeed, a typical adult loon is likely to have several mates during its lifetime because of territorial takeover. Each breeding pair must frequently defend its territory against "floaters" (territory-less adults) trying to evict at least one owner and seize the breeding site. Territories that have produced chicks in the past year are especially prone to takeovers, because nonbreeding loons use chicks as cues to indicate high-quality territories. One-third of all territorial evictions among males result in the death of the owner; in contrast, female loons usually survive. Birds that are displaced from a territory but survive usually try to remate and (re)claim a breeding territory later in life.[4][11][12][13]

Etymology and taxonomy

The European Anglophone name "diver" comes from the bird's habit of catching fish by swimming calmly along the surface and then abruptly plunging into the water. The North American name "loon" likely comes from either the Old English word lumme, meaning lummox or awkward person, or the Scandinavian word lum meaning lame or clumsy. Either way, the name refers to the loon’s poor ability to walk on land.[14]

Another possible derivation is from the Norwegian word lom for these birds, which comes from Old Norse lómr, possibly cognate with English "lament", referring to the characteristic plaintive sound of the loon.[15] The scientific name Gavia refers to seabirds in general.[16]

The scientific name Gavia was the Latin term for the smew (Mergellus albellus). This small sea-duck is quite unrelated to loons and just happens to be another black-and-white seabird which swims and dives for fish. It is not likely that the ancient Romans had much knowledge of loons, as these are limited to more northern latitudes and since the end of the last glacial period seem to have occurred only as rare winter migrants in the Mediterranean region.[17][18]

The term gavia was transferred from the ducks to the loons only in the 18th century. Earlier naturalists referred to the loons as mergus (the Latin term for diving seabirds of all sorts) or colymbus, which became the genus name used in the first modern scientific description of a Gavia species (by Carl Linnaeus) in 1758. Unfortunately, confusion about whether Linnaeus' "wastebin genus" Colymbus referred to loons or grebes abounded, with North American ornithologists using the genus name for grebes and European names, following Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Richard Bowdler Sharpe, for divers.

The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature tried to settle this issue in 1956 by declaring Colymbus a suppressed name unfit for further use and establishing Gavia, created by Johann Reinhold Forster in 1788, as the valid genus name for the loons. However, the situation was not completely resolved even then, and the following year the ICZN had to act again to prevent Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot's 1818 almost-forgotten family name Urinatoridae from overruling the much younger Gaviidae. Some eminent ornithologists such as Pierce Brodkorb tried to keep the debate alive but the ICZN's solution has been satisfactory.[18][19][20][21]

Systematics and evolution

All living species are placed in the genus Gavia. Phylogenetically, the five living species can be arranged as follows:[22]

Gavia stellata

G. arctica

G. pacifica

G. immer

G. adamsii

Cladogram of the extant Gavia species

Basal lineage

Black-throated lineage

Black-headed lineage


Waimanu BW
The Paleocene Waimanu (an early member of the Sphenisciformes) resembled loons in some aspects of its head and bill, but it was already flightless and used its feet for steering rather than propulsion

The loons were formerly often considered to be the most ancient of the northern hemisphere bird families; this idea grew basically out of the perceived similarity of shape and (probably) habits between loons and the entirely unrelated extinct Cretaceous order Hesperornithiformes. In particular Enaliornis, which was apparently an ancestral and plesiomorphic member of that order, was sometimes used to support claims of Albian (Early Cretaceous) Gaviiformes.[23][24]

More recently, it has become clear that the Anseriformes (waterfowl) and the Galliformes are the most ancient groups of modern birds. It is possible, though not at all well-supported, that these were distinct by the end of the Albian 100 million years ago (Ma). Loons belong to a more modern radiation. They were once believed to be related to grebes, which are also foot-propelled diving birds, and both species were once classified together under the order Colymbiformes. However, as recently as the 1930s, it was determined that the two groups are not that closely related at all and are merely the product of convergent evolution and adapted in a similar way to a similar ecological niche. The similarity is so strong that even the most modern cladistic analyses of general anatomical features are easily misled into grouping loons and grebes.[23][25][26]

The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy still allied the loons with the grebes in its massively paraphyletic "Ciconiiformes", and it is almost certain that the relationships of loons lie with some of the orders placed therein. Namely, other recent authors have considered loons to share a rather close relationship with seabirds such as penguins (Sphenisciformes), tubenoses (Procellariiformes), waders (Charadriiformes) – and perhaps the newly discovered clade Mirandornithes which unites grebes (Podicipediformes) and their closest living relatives, the flamingos (Phoenicopteriformes). It is perhaps notable that some early penguins had skulls and beaks that were in many aspects similar to those of the living and fossil Gaviiformes.[25][27]

Fossil record

Plongeon catmarin oisillon
Red-throated loon (G. stellata), the smallest living Gavia species. Some Miocene members of this genus were smaller still.

In prehistoric times, the loons had a more southerly distribution than today, and their fossils have been found in places such as California, Florida and Italy. The conflicting molecular data regarding their relationships is not much resolved by the fossil record; though they seem to have originated at the end of the Late Cretaceous like their presumed relatives, modern loons are only known with certainty since the Eocene. By that time almost all modern bird orders are at least strongly suspected to have existed – if not known from unequivocally identified specimens – anyway.[26]

Colymboides, the oldest unequivocal gaviiform genus known as of 2009, is widely known from early Priabonian – about 37 million years ago (Ma) in the Late Eocene – to Early Miocene (late Burdigalian, less than 20 Ma) limnic and marine rocks of western Eurasia north of the Alpide belt, between the Atlantic and the former Turgai Sea. It is usually placed in the Gaviidae already, but usually[28] in a subfamily Colymboidinae, with the modern-type loons making up the Gaviinae. But the Colymboides material is generally quite distinct from modern loons, and may actually belong in a now-extinct family of primitive gaviiforms.

Furthermore, the supposed genus could well be paraphyletic, so that for example Dyspetornis – which is now contained therein – might have to be separated again. A leg of an undescribed small diver was found in the Late Oligocene deposits at Enspel (Germany); it too may or may not belong to Colymboides. Of the crown genus Gavia, nearly ten prehistoric species have been named to date, and about as many undescribed ones await further study. The genus is known from the Early Miocene onwards, and the oldest members them are rather small (some are smaller than the red-throated diver). Throughout the late Neogene, the genus by and large follows Cope's Rule.[29][30]

Gavia fossil Vienna
Fossil in Vienna

List of fossil Gavia

  • Gavia sp. (Early-Middle Miocene of eastern United States)[31]
  • Gavia egeriana Švec, 1982 (Early Miocene of Czechoslovakia ?and Cheswold, Delaware, United States –? Yorktown Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, South Carolina, United States)[32]
  • Gavia schultzi Mlíkovský, 1998 (Middle Miocene of Sankt Margarethen, Austria)[33]
  • Gavia sp. (Calvert Middle Miocene ?or Pleistocene of Maryland, United States) – same as Gavia cf. immer below?[34]
  • Gavia spp. (Middle Miocene of Steinheim, Germany) – three species[33]
  • Gavia brodkorbi Howard, 1978 (Late Miocene of Orange County, United States)[35]
  • Gavia moldavica Kessler, 1984 (Late Miocene of Chişinău, Moldova)[33]
  • Gavia paradoxa Umanska, 1981 (Late Miocene of Čebotarevka, Ukraine)[33]
  • Gavia concinna Wetmore, 1940 (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of west and east United States)[36]
  • Gavia fortis Olson & Rasmussen, 2001 (Yorktown Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, South Carolina, United States)
  • Gavia sp. (Early Pliocene of Empoli, Italy)[37]
  • Gavia sp. (Early Pliocene of Kerč Peninsula, Ukraine)[33]
  • Gavia palaeodytes Wetmore, 1943 (Bone Valley Early/Middle Pliocene of Pierce, Florida, United States)[38]
  • Gavia howardae Brodkorb, 1953 (Yorktown Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, South Carolina, United States – San Diego Middle[39] Pliocene of San Diego, California, United States)[40]
  • Gavia cf. concinna (San Diego Middle/Late[39] Pliocene of San Diego, California, United States) – two species?[41]
  • Gavia sp. (Early Pleistocene of Kairy, Ukraine)[33]
  • Gavia cf. immer (Pleistocene of California and Florida, United States) – possibly a G. immer paleosubspecies[29]

"Gavia" portisi from the Late Pliocene of Orciano Pisano, Italy, is known from a cervical vertebra that may or may not have been from a loon. If so, it was from a bird slightly smaller than the common loon. Older authors were quite sure the bone was indeed from a Gavia and even considered G. concinna a possibly junior synonym of it. This is now regarded as rather unlikely due to the quite distinct range and age. The Early Pliocene Gavia skull from Empoli (Italy) was referred to G. concinna, and thus could conceivably have been of "G." portisi if that was indeed a diver. The holotype vertebra may now be lost, which would make "G." portisi a nomen dubium.[29][42]

In addition, there are some older fossils that are sometimes assigned to the Gaviiformes. From the Late Cretaceous, the genera Lonchodytes (Lance Formation, Wyoming, United States) and Neogaeornis (Quinriquina Formation, Chile) have been described; both are usually allied with orders which are considered related to loons. In particular the latter is still sometimes explicitly proposed as a primitive loon as they both were initially, but other authors consider Neogaeornis a hesperornithiform; note however that neither Gaviiformes nor Hesperornithiformes are known from the Southern Hemisphere or anywhere near it. Lonchodytes was more certainly quite close to loons, but probably closer still to some of the loons' relatives. Of similarly doubtful validity and surrounded by considerable dispute[43] is the supposed Late Cretaceous loon Polarornis (Seymour Island, Antarctica). Eupterornis from the Paleocene of Châlons-sur-Vesle (France) has some features reminiscent of loons, but others seem more similar to Charadriiformes such as gulls (Laridae).

A piece of a carpometacarpus supposedly from Oligocene rocks near Lusk, Wyoming, was described as Gaviella pusilla, but this handbone also shows some similarities to the plotopterids, flightless wing-propelled divers, and if these are apomorphic would make an unconvincing member of the Gaviidae (though it still could be a small-winged gaviiform in a yet-undescribed family "Gaviellidae"[44]): while the carpometacarpus in Gavia is somewhat convergent to that of wing-propelled divers, enabling the wings to be used as rudders for quick underwater turns, Colymboides still had an unspecialized plesiomorphic hand. Parascaniornis, sometimes allied to the loons by early authors, was eventually determined to be a junior synonym of the hesperornithiform Baptornis. A supposed mid-Eocene diver fossil form Geiseltal (Germany) was erroneously assigned to Gavia.[45]

In popular culture

Notes and references

  1. ^ Melville, RV; Smith, JDD, eds. (1987). Official Lists and Indexes of Names and Works in Zoology. ICZN. p. 17.
  2. ^ Appleby, R.H.; Steve C. Madge; Mullarney, Killian (1986). "Identification of divers in immature and winter plumages". British Birds. 79 (8): 365–91.
  3. ^ Olson (1985: p. 212)
  4. ^ a b Piper, W.H.; Walcott, C.; Mager, J.N. & Spilker, F. (2008b). "Fatal Battles in Common Loons: A Preliminary Analysis". Animal Behaviour. 75 (3): 1109–15. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.10.025.
  5. ^ Evers, David C., James D. Paruk, Judith W. Mcintyre and Jack F. Barr. 2010. Common Loon (Gavia immer), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/313
  6. ^ "Common Loon Migration Study - Frequently Asked Questions". Umesc.usgs.gov. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Sjölander, S. & Ågren, G. (1972). "The reproductive behaviour of the Common Loon". Wilson Bull. 84 (3): 296–308. JSTOR 4160227.
  8. ^ a b c d Sjölander, S. & Ågren, G. (1976). "The reproductive Behavior of the Yellow-billed Loon, Gavia adamsii (with G. Ågren)". The Condor. 78 (4): 454–63. doi:10.2307/1367094. JSTOR 1367094.
  9. ^ For a review of the impact of lead shot and alternatives, see Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (2007): "Let's Get the Lead Out! Non-lead alternatives for fishing tackle"
    For a review of gastrolith function, see Wings, Oliver (2007). "A review of gastrolith function with implications for fossil vertebrates and a revised classification" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 52: 1–16. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  10. ^ Piper, W.H.; Walcott, C.; Mager, J.N. & Spilker, F. (2008). "Nestsite selection by male loons leads to sex-biased site familiarity". Journal of Animal Ecology. 77 (2): 205–10. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01334.x. PMID 17976165.
  11. ^ Piper, W.H.; Evers, D.C.; Meyer, M.W.; Tischler, K.B. & Klich, M. (2000): Do common loons mate for life?: scientific investigation of a widespread myth. In: McIntyre, J. & Evers, D.C. (eds.): Loons: old history and new findings – proceedings of a symposium from the 1997 meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union: 43–49. North American Loon Fund, Meredith, New Hampshire.
  12. ^ Piper, W.H.; Tischler, K.B. & Klich, M. (2000). "Territory acquisition in loons: The importance of take-over". Animal Behaviour. 59 (2): 385–94. doi:10.1006/anbe.1999.1295. PMID 10675261.
  13. ^ Piper, W.H.; Walcott, C.; Mager, J.N.; Perala, M.; Tischler, K.B.; Harrington, Erin; Turcotte, A.J.; Schwabenlander M. & Banfield, N. (2006). "Prospecting in a Solitary Breeder: Chick Production Elicits Territorial Intrusions in Common Loons". Behavioral Ecology. 17 (6): 881–888. doi:10.1093/beheco/arl021.
  14. ^ Mobley, Jason A. (2008). Birds of the World. Marshall Cavendish. p. 382. ISBN 9780761477754.
  15. ^ Harper, Douglas. "loon". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  16. ^ LoonWatch – Loon FAQs|Northland College Archived 2010-08-13 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Brodkorb (1963: pp. 223–24)
  18. ^ a b Arnott, W.G. (1964). "Notes on Gavia and Mergvs in Latin Authors". Classical Quarterly. New Series. 14 (2): 249–62. doi:10.1017/S0009838800023806. JSTOR 637729.
  19. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758): 68.1. Colymbus arcticus. In: Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (10th ed., vol. 1): 190 [Latin book]. Lars Salvius, Stockholm ("Holmius"). Digitized version
  20. ^ International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) (1957–58). "The family-group names "Gaviidae" Coues, 1903 and "Urinatoridae" (correction of "Urinatores)" Vieillot, 1818 (Class Aves) – "Opinion" 401 and "Direction" 75". Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 15A: 147–48.
  21. ^ Brodkorb (1963: p. 223)
  22. ^ Boertmann, D. (1990). "Phylogeny of the divers, family Gaviidae (Aves)". Steenstrupia. 16: 21–36.
  23. ^ a b Stolpe, M. (1935). "Colymbus, Hesperornis, Podiceps:, ein Vergleich ihrer hinteren Extremität". J. Ornithol. (in German). 80 (1): 115–128. doi:10.1007/BF01908745.
  24. ^ Brodkorb (1963: pp. 220–21)
  25. ^ a b Slack, K.E.; Jones, C.M.; Ando, T.; Harrison G.L.; Fordyce R.E.; Arnason, U. & Penny, D. (2006). "Early Penguin Fossils, plus Mitochondrial Genomes, Calibrate Avian Evolution". Mol. Biol. Evol. 23 (6): 1144–55. doi:10.1093/molbev/msj124. PMID 16533822. Supplementary Material
  26. ^ a b Mayr (2009)
  27. ^ Olson (1985: pp. 212–13), Mayr (2004, 2009)
  28. ^ Some (notably Robert W. Storer) have disagreed, usually because they separated Gaviella in the basalmost subfamily of the Gaviidae and considered Colymboides the ancestor of Gavia. More recent authors generally disagree at least regarding the latter: Storer (1956), Olson (1985), Mayr (2009: pp. 75–76)
  29. ^ a b c Brodkorb (1953)
  30. ^ Brodkorb (1963: pp. 223–25), Olson (1985: pp. 212–13), Mlíkovský (2002: pp. 63–64), Mayr (2009: pp. 75–76)
  31. ^ A tiny loon, smaller and more delicate than even the sympatric contemporary G. egeriana-like birds. Probably a distinct species – sexual dimorphism in loons is not very pronounced: Rasmussen (1998).
  32. ^ A small loon, smaller than G. howardae: Olson (1985: pp. 213–214), Rasmussen (1998), Mlíkovský (2002: p. 63)
  33. ^ a b c d e f Mlíkovský (2002: p. 64)
  34. ^ USNM 16612, distal right tibiotarsus. Smaller than common loon; the polished-bone look and large size of the specimen makes a Miocene origin rather unlikely: Wetmore (1941), Olson (1985: p. 214).
  35. ^ Known from a complete ulna. Slightly larger than G. egeriana, but smaller than G. howardae: Olson (1985: p. 214)
  36. ^ Known from skull and limb bones. Much like a large Pacific loon but stouter and heavy-billed like common loon, and generally possessing apparently plesiomorphic traits that those two species share with the red-throated loon. Has been considered a possible junior synonym of "G." portisi, but this is nowadays considered unlikely: Brodkorb (1953), Mlíkovský (2002: p. 64), and see also at "Gavia" portisi.
  37. ^ Known from a skull very similar to the black-throated loon. Initially assigned to G. concinna, but this is not very likely: Mlíkovský (2002: p. 64), and see also at "Gavia" portisi.
  38. ^ Known from a few limb bones. Roughly similar in size to Pacific loon, but proportions seem to differ and apparently not close to any living species except maybe red-throated loon: Brodkorb (1953).
  39. ^ a b BRODKORB, PIERCE (July 1953). "A REVIEW OF THE PLIOCENE LOONS" (PDF). Searchable Ornothological Research Archive.
  40. ^ Maybe closest to Pacific loon but smaller than red-throated loon; might be quite distinct. A supposed record from Florida is probably in error: Brodkorb (1953, 1963: p. 224).
  41. ^ Initially in part (specimens LACM 2110, 2142) assigned to G. concinna, but apparently one or two undescribed smaller species, about the size of the Pacific loon: Brodkorb (1953), Mlíkovský (2002: p. 64).
  42. ^ Brodkorb (1963: p. 224), Mlíkovský (2002: pp. 64, 256–57)
  43. ^ See for example the discussions in Mayr (2004, 2009).
  44. ^ Not to be used without quotation marks, as it is not a valid taxon.
  45. ^ Brodkorb (1963: pp. 220–23), Olson (1985), Mlíkovský (2002: pp. 64259–61), Mayr (2009: p. 20)
  46. ^ Demetracopoulou, D. (1933). "The Loon Woman Myth: A Study in Synthesis". The Journal of American Folklore. 46 (180): 101–128. doi:10.2307/535774. JSTOR 535774.
  47. ^ Stewart, Barry D. (2004): Across The Land: A Canadian Journey Of Discovery. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-2276-2, p. 143
  48. ^ Heinrichs, Ann (2003): Minnesota. Compass Point Books. ISBN 0-7565-0315-9, p. 44
  49. ^ Moran, Mark; Sceurman, Mark; Godfrey, Linda S. & Hendricks, Richard D. (2005): Weird Wisconsin: Your Travel Guide to Wisconsin's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling Publishing. ISBN 0-7607-5944-8, p. 78
  50. ^ chapter "Brute Neighbors"
  51. ^ Gonzalez, John (August 11, 2013). "Experience Michigan: The Great Lakes Loons fans go bonkers for mascots Rall E. Camel and Lou E. Loon!". Booth Newspapers. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  52. ^ Tiny Toon Adventures (TV Series 1990â€"1995), retrieved 2019-01-29
  53. ^ La Vaque, David (October 27, 2016). "Minnesota United to donate portion of 2017 season ticket purchases to help loons". Star-Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  54. ^ "Classic Tracks: 808 State 'Pacific State'". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 20 January 2018.



External links

AEA June Bug

The June Bug (or Aerodrome #3) was an early US aircraft designed and flown by Glenn H. Curtiss and built by the Aerial Experiment Association (A.E.A) in 1908. The June Bug is famous for winning the first aeronautical prize, the Scientific American Cup, ever awarded in the United States.


Bell-bottoms (or flares) are a style of trousers that become wider from the knees downward, forming a bell-like shape of the trouser leg.

Black-throated loon

The black-throated loon (Gavia arctica), also known as the Arctic loon and the black-throated diver, is a migratory aquatic bird found in the northern hemisphere, primarily breeding in freshwater lakes in northern Europe and Asia. It winters along sheltered, ice-free coasts of the north-east Atlantic Ocean and the eastern and western Pacific Ocean. This loon was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It has two subspecies. It was previously considered to be the same species as the Pacific loon, of which it is traditionally considered to be a sister species, although this is debated. In a study that used mitochondrial and nuclear intron DNA, the black-throated loon was found to be sister to a clade consisting of the Pacific loon and two sister species, the common loon and the yellow-billed loon.

The black-throated loon measures about 70 cm (28 in) in length and can weigh anywhere from 1.3 to 3.4 kilograms (2.9 to 7.5 lb). In breeding plumage, the adult of the nominate subspecies has mostly black upperparts, with the exception of some of the mantle and scapulars, which have white squares. The head and hindneck are grey, and the sides white and striped black. Most of the throat is also black, giving this bird the name "black-throated loon". The colour of the throat patch can be used to distinguish the two subspecies; the throat patch of the other subspecies, G. a. viridigularis, is green. The underparts are mostly white, including the bottom of the throat. The flanks are also white, a feature which can be used to separate this bird from the Pacific loon. When it is not breeding, the black patch on the throat is absent, replaced with white; most of the black lines on the throat are also missing, except those on the bottom sides, and the upperparts are unpatterned with the exception of a few white spots on the upperwing. The juvenile is similar to the non-breeding adult, except more brown overall.

The timing of the breeding season is variable; in the southern part of its range, this loon starts breeding in April, whereas in the northern portion, it waits until after the spring thaw. It builds an oval-shaped nest that measures about 23 centimetres (9.1 in) across, either near the breeding lake or on vegetation emerging from it. The black-throated loon usually lays a clutch of two, rarely one or three, brown-green eggs with dark splotches. After an incubation period of 27 to 29 days, the chick hatches, and is fed a diet of small fish and invertebrates. This contrasts with the mostly fish diet of the adult. To catch this food, it forages by itself or in pairs, very rarely foraging in groups. It dives from the water, going no deeper than 5 metres (16 ft). Most dives are successful. Whether or not at least one chick will hatch from a nest is variable, ranging from 30% to 90%. Most failures come from predators and flooding. Overall, the population of this loon is declining, although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) still rates it as least concern, because the population decline is not rapid enough. The black-throated loon is protected under both the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds.

Common loon

The common loon or great northern diver (Gavia immer) is a large member of the loon, or diver, family of birds. Breeding adults have a plumage that includes a broad black head and neck with a greenish, purplish, or bluish sheen, blackish or blackish-grey upperparts, and pure white underparts except some black on the undertail coverts and vent. Non-breeding adults are brownish with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey-brown. Their upperparts are dark brownish-grey with an unclear pattern of squares on the shoulders, and the underparts, lower face, chin, and throat are whitish. The sexes look alike, though males are significantly heavier than females. During the breeding season, loons live on lakes and other waterways in Canada; the northern United States (including Alaska); and southern parts of Greenland and Iceland. Small numbers breed on Svalbard and sporadically elsewhere in Arctic Eurasia. Common loons winter on both coasts of the US as far south as Mexico, and on the Atlantic coast of Europe.

Common loons eat a variety of animal prey including fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, molluscs, and occasionally aquatic plant life. They swallow most of their prey underwater, where it is caught, but some larger items are first brought to the surface. Loons are monogamous; that is, a single female and male often together defend a territory and may breed together for a decade or more. Both members of a pair build a large nest out of dead marsh grasses and other plants formed into a mound along the vegetated shores of lakes. A single brood is raised each year from a clutch of one or two olive-brown oval eggs with dark brown spots which are incubated for about 28 days by both parents. Fed by both parents, the chicks fledge in 70 to 77 days. The chicks are capable of diving underwater when just a few days old, and they fly to their wintering areas before ice forms in the fall.

The common loon is assessed as a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds applies. The United States Forest Service has designated the common loon a species of special status because of threats from habitat loss and toxic metal poisoning in its US range.

The common loon is the provincial bird of Ontario, and it appears on Canadian currency, including the one-dollar "loonie" coin and a previous series of $20 bills. In 1961, it was designated the state bird of Minnesota, and appears on the Minnesota State Quarter.

Hendrik Willem van Loon

Hendrik Willem van Loon (January 14, 1882 – March 11, 1944) was a Dutch-American historian, journalist, and award-winning children's book author.

Keith Moon

Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians. He was posthumously inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1982, becoming only the second rock drummer to be chosen, and in 2011, Moon was voted the second-greatest drummer in history by a Rolling Stone readers' poll.Moon grew up in Alperton, a suburb of Wembley, in Middlesex, and took up the drums during the early 1960s. After playing with a local band, the Beachcombers, he joined the Who in 1964 before they recorded their first single. Moon remained with the band during their rise to fame, and was quickly recognised for his drumming style, which emphasised tom-toms, cymbal crashes, and drum fills. Throughout Moon's tenure with the Who his drum kit steadily grew in size, and along with Ginger Baker, Moon has been credited as one of the earliest rock drummers to regularly employ double bass drums in his setup. He occasionally collaborated with other musicians and later appeared in films, but considered playing in the Who his primary occupation and remained a member of the band until his death. In addition to his talent as a drummer, however, Moon developed a reputation for smashing his kit on stage and destroying hotel rooms on tour. He was fascinated by blowing up toilets with cherry bombs or dynamite, and by destroying television sets. Moon enjoyed touring and socialising, and became bored and restless when the Who were inactive. His 21st birthday party in Flint, Michigan, has been cited as a notorious example of decadent behaviour by rock groups.

Moon suffered a number of setbacks during the 1970s, most notably the accidental death of chauffeur Neil Boland and the breakdown of his marriage. He became addicted to alcohol, particularly brandy and champagne, and acquired a reputation for decadence and dark humour; his nickname was "Moon the Loon." After moving to Los Angeles with personal assistant Peter "Dougal" Butler during the mid-1970s, Moon recorded his only solo album, the poorly received Two Sides of the Moon. While touring with the Who, on several occasions he passed out on stage and was hospitalised. By their final tour with him in 1976, and particularly during production of The Kids Are Alright and Who Are You, the drummer's deterioration was evident. Moon moved back to London in 1978, dying in September of that year from an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug intended to treat or prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.


Kowloon (; Chinese: 九龍; Cantonese Yale: Gáulùhng) is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait to the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island to the west, a mountain range, including Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock to the north, and Victoria Harbour to the south. With a population of 2,019,533 (2 million) and a population density of 43,033/km2 in 2006, it is the most populous urban area in Hong Kong. The peninsula's area is approximately 47 km2 (18 sq mi).

List of Tiny Toon Adventures characters

The Tiny Toon Adventures animated television series features an extensive cast of characters. The show's central characters are mostly various forms of anthropomorphic animals, based on Looney Tunes characters from earlier films and shows. In the series, the characters attend a school called Acme Looniversity, set in the cartoon community of Acme Acres.

Loon, Bohol

Loon, officially the Municipality of Loon, (Cebuano: Lungsod sa Loon; Tagalog: Bayan ng Loon), is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Bohol, Philippines which was established in 1753. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 43,034 people.Loon lies halfway between Tagbilaran and Tubigon, Bohol's major ports of entry, each of which is only 40 minutes away by public utility buses, jeepneys and vans-for-hire that frequently ply the north–south route. Loon has one provincial secondary port and six fishing ports. The secondary port is being converted into the Loon Bohol International Cruise Ship Port. Currently it serves the Loon—Argao (Cebu) route.Loon was among the hardest hit towns in the 2013 Bohol earthquake. About a third of all casualties occurred in this town, and its church, dating from the 1850s, completely razed to the ground.


Loon-Plage is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.

Loon (company)

Loon LLC is an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary working on providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. The company uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 18 km (11 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds. It was named Project Loon, since even Google itself found the idea of providing Internet access to the remaining 5 billion population unprecedented and "loony". It may also be a reference to the balloons used. Loon began as a research and development project by X (formerly Google X), but was spun out into a separate company in July 2018.The balloons are maneuvered by adjusting their altitude in the stratosphere to float to a wind layer after identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Users of the service connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal travels through the balloon network from balloon to balloon, then to a ground-based station connected to an Internet service provider (ISP), then onto the global Internet. The system aims to bring Internet access to remote and rural areas poorly served by existing provisions, and to improve communication during natural disasters to affected regions. Key people involved in the project include Rich DeVaul, chief technical architect, who is also an expert on wearable technology; Mike Cassidy, a project leader; and Cyrus Behroozi, a networking and telecommunication lead.The balloons use patch antennas – which are directional antennas – to transmit signals to ground stations or LTE users. Some smartphones with Google SIM cards can use Google Internet services. The whole infrastructure is based on LTE; the eNodeB component (the equivalent of the "base station" that talks directly to handsets) is carried in the balloon.

Loon (rapper)

Amir Junaid Muhadith (born Chauncey Lamont Hawkins , June 20, 1975 in Harlem, New York) best known by his stage name Loon, is a former American rapper formerly signed to P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records. He is best known for his role in P. Diddy's 2002 hits "I Need a Girl (Part One)" & "I Need a Girl (Part Two)" .

Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain is a mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire, in Grafton County. It is in the White Mountain National Forest.

The 3,065-foot (934 m) mountain is known for Loon Mountain Ski Resort, which, like most New England mountain resorts, has expanded into an all-season recreation area.

Loven, Iran

Loven (Persian: لون‎, also Romanized as Lauvan, Lāven, Lawan, and Loon; also known as Shahīd Shams ed Dīn-e Amānī) is a village in Tang-e Haft Rural District, Papi District, Khorramabad County, Lorestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its existence was noted, but its population was not reported.

Operation Robin

Operation Robin was a U.S. Marine Corps operation that took place southeast of Khe Sanh, Quảng Trị Province from 2–19 June 1968.

Pacific loon

The Pacific loon or Pacific diver (Gavia pacifica), is a medium-sized member of the loon, or diver, family.

Red-throated loon

The red-throated loon (North America) or red-throated diver (Britain and Ireland) (Gavia stellata) is a migratory aquatic bird found in the northern hemisphere. The most widely distributed member of the loon or diver family, it breeds primarily in Arctic regions, and winters in northern coastal waters. Ranging from 55 to 67 centimetres (22 to 26 in) in length, the red-throated loon is the smallest and lightest of the world's loons. In winter, it is a nondescript bird, greyish above fading to white below. During the breeding season, it acquires the distinctive reddish throat patch which is the basis for its common name. Fish form the bulk of its diet, though amphibians, invertebrates, and plant material are sometimes eaten as well. A monogamous species, the red-throated loon forms long-term pair bonds. Both members of the pair help to build the nest, incubate the eggs (generally two per clutch), and feed the hatched young.

The red-throated loon has a large global population and a significant global range, though some populations are declining. Oil spills, habitat degradation, pollution, and fishing nets are among the major threats this species faces. Natural predators—including various gull species, and both red and Arctic foxes, will take eggs and young. The species is protected by international treaties.

Republic-Ford JB-2

The Republic-Ford JB-2, also known as the KGW and LTV-N-2 Loon, was a United States copy of the German V-1 flying bomb. Developed in 1944, and planned to be used in the United States invasion of Japan (Operation Downfall), the JB-2 was never used in combat. It was the most successful of the United States Army Air Forces Jet Bomb (JB) projects (JB-1 through JB-10) during World War II. Postwar, the JB-2 played a significant role in the development of more advanced surface-to-surface tactical missile systems such as the MGM-1 Matador and later MGM-13 Mace.

Rural Municipality of Loon Lake No. 561

Loon Lake No. 561 is a rural municipality in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, located in Census Division 17, a part of SARM Division 6. The seat of the municipality is located in the village of Loon Lake.

Loons or divers
Birds (class: Aves)
Fossil birds
Human interaction

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