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Common loon


Common name Common loon
Scientific name Gavia inmer
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Large seabird (approx 90 cm or 35.5 in). Bright black summer plumage on the head, neck and back (with light scales or chessboard design); dirty white in the throat, breast and underparts. Black ring at the base of the neck not completely closed in the frontal part. More discreet winter plumage, dark grey with white neck and underparts. Thick, squeezed and pointed bill, whitish with a black tip. Short legs, webbed and in a set back position. In the water they have a low waterline (cormorants have it high).


Marine environment

Where it lives

Species linked to the tundra and taiga wetlands, where it nests. During the winter the Common Loon prefers littoral waters not far from the coasts. It avoids open sea. Normally present in estuaries, rias and bays.

How it lives

Exceptional wintering bird, considered a rarity in the province. It nests in islands inside wetlands in northern Europe and lays 1 to 3 eggs. Diver habits. This loon mainly consumes fish, but also amphibians, molluscs, crustaceans and annelids. It uses the legs and wings to propel itself under water.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Very rare species in Malaga. There are few records in the coast of Malaga, most of them in Punta de Calaburras (Mijas). There are also observations in the ports of Fuengirola and Málaga and on the beaches at the mouth of the Guadalhorce River.

Curious facts

The Spanish name for this bird, "colimbo", comes from the word that the ancient Greeks used for those swimmers who practiced underwater exercise ("kolymbos"). With the Latin name "Gavia" unknown seabirds were identified, while "inmer" derives from Swedish and refers to the grey or blackish colour of the plumage of this diving bird.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration