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Black-throated loon


Common name Black-throated loon
Scientific name Gavia arctica
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Large bird (approx 73 cm or 28.5 in) with an also large wingspan (approx 130 cm or 4.5 ft). Stylized appearance, long neck and pointed bill. Winter plumage of a dark grey tone on the back, somewhat lighter on the head and nape. White cheeks, throat, breast and belly. Grey bill. Same shades of plumage in summer, although more showy and with a striped design of white bars on the neck, sides of the breast and wings. It swims with the body almost submerged. Short legs, webbed and in a set back position with respect to the body.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Species of the Arctic tundra. This loon uses large lakes with islands in the areas where it nests. In winter it shows a preference for coastal waters of estuaries and bays.

How it lives

Bird considered a rarity in the province and that appears sporadically by the Mediterranean in winter. The Black-Throated Loon usually spends the winter in the Cantabrian coast. Floating nest on platforms above the water. One laying of 1 to 3 eggs. Expert diver which feeds on fish caught by submerging down to 6 meters and taking impulse with its legs.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Uncommon and rare species in Malaga. There are only three watching records in the province and they have occurred offshore.

Curious facts

Loons are sort of large ducks: expert divers but very clumsy on land. The word "loon" comes from the Greek ("kólymbos") and means "diver". The Latin name "Gavia" referred to a group of seabirds that up to now has not been possible to identify with any known group of birds.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration