Red-throated Loon

The Red-throated Loon, scientific name Gavia stellata, is a beautiful waterbird that is known for its distinct vocalizations and striking appearance. In this post, we will dive deeper into the basic description of this bird, where to find it in the world, its habitat preferences, food sources and some interesting facts about it.

Basic Description

The Red-throated Loon has a slender body with a pointed bill and webbed feet that are set far back on their bodies. It measures around 55-67 cm in length and has a wingspan of approximately 100-120 cm. During breeding season, they have blackish-grey feathers on their necks and backs with white underparts while during winter months they have grey-brown upperparts which fade to white undersides.

Where To Find This Bird

The Red-throated Loon can be found throughout northern parts of North America (Alaska & Canada) as well as Europe (Scandinavia). They migrate towards coastal regions during winter months but breed inland near freshwater lakes or ponds.


This bird prefers habitats such as tundra ponds or shallow lakes near coniferous forests with plenty of aquatic vegetation. During nesting season the birds prefer open areas surrounded by dense cover like forested areas which provide protection from predators while allowing them to keep an eye on their surroundings.


Red-throated loons feed mainly on small fish species such as perch or herring along with crustaceans like crabs or shrimp. They are skilled divers able to hold their breath for long periods while hunting underwater for prey.

Cool Facts

Did you know that these birds have specialized nostrils designed specifically for diving? Their nostril openings close underwater allowing them to hunt without any risk of inhaling water. Another interesting fact is that the Red-throated Loon’s call has been described as a “tremolo” consisting of short, repeated notes which can be heard over long distances and serve to communicate with other birds.

In conclusion, the Red-throated Loon is an intriguing bird species known for its unique characteristics and habits. Whether you are a birdwatcher, nature enthusiast or simply enjoy learning about new animals, the Red-throated Loon certainly deserves your attention!