Serenade of the Lakes: The Enigmatic Common Loon

Common Loon

Serenade of the Lakes: The Enigmatic Common Loon


You’ve probably heard of the Common Loon, but do you know anything about this bird? Read on to learn more about their range, plumage, and calls! It’s time to get in touch with the loon’s natural habitat!

You can also find a complete list of common loon facts in this article! The following information will give you a basic idea of the common loon’s behavior and range.

Common Loons

What are the facts about loons? The common loon is a bird found in many areas of the world. Loons breed and spend much of their time in the water.

common loon

The migratory routes of loons are well-known, and they pass through the northern parts of Canada and the United States. They are monogamous and raise a single brood every year.

Their eggs are brown with dark spots, and both parents incubate them. The common loon is black-headed, with a dagger-like bill. Its eyes are dark red.

Its black feathers and collar are distinctive, and its long, pointed bill is distinctive. Its black neck and back are distinguished by prominent white checks. The white underparts are grayish. Its voice sounds like a wolf howl. The tremolo sound is similar to a maniacal laugh.

The common loon breeds in lakes and ponds and prefers bodies of water with coves and islands. They also spend the winter in inland lakes and streams, as well as on the shores of northern Europe.

Loons can also be found in Africa. So, if you want to see a loon in its natural habitat, check out our facts about loons! The common loon is monogamous.

The male and female pair bond for five years and the female is known to lay eggs together. The eggs are incubated for 26 to 30 days, and the chicks can swim within an hour of hatching.

Common loons start breeding at six years of age, and they can live up to 30 years. And they have been tracked by biologists.

Their Range

Learn all the facts about common loons to enjoy this unique bird. They form pair bonds and have a strong sense of family unity.

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common loon

They have a mate for life and renew their bond with brief display calls. Common loons nest between mid-May and June. It takes 26-31 days for the eggs to hatch.

The young are born after three to five weeks and begin swimming and diving almost immediately. They are capable of catching small fish and will be ready to fend for themselves by the time they are two or three weeks old.

In New York, the common loon population is stable and growing, though they are vulnerable to pollution and human disturbance.

Some states have special conservation status for common loons. In Michigan, they are listed as threatened. Common loons have four different calls, each with its own purpose.

Learn what they sound like and learn more about how to protect them. They are one of the most beautiful birds in our state. The common loon’s diet is primarily composed of fish.

It eats minnows, suckers, and gizzard shad. Other sources of food include rock bass, alewife, and whitefish. Some loons also eat insects and pumpkinseed. During the juvenile stage, they feed on patches of green vegetation.

They will also eat frogs, leeches, and crayfish. The common loon is larger than other loon species. Adults are 28 to 35 inches long, have a wing span of up to 50 inches, and weigh between 3.5 and seventeen pounds.

Females are smaller than males and live primarily in the Great Lakes and lower-central Canadian regions.

Unlike their cousins, loons have a unique breeding plumage, with a black head and bill, black wingtips, white throat, and a prominent white “necklace” that extends past their backs.

Their Plumage

The common loon is a bird of prey that is popularly known as the “spirit of the north.” It is an iconic representation of the unspoiled wilderness, with its black head and dagger-like bill.

scott rando
Scott Rando

They have a distinctive black and white head and neck, and their plumage is often brightly colored. Common loons have four distinct calls, including the tremolo call, which sounds like maniacal laughter.

The wailing call is a long, sustained sound that is used by the female loon to communicate with her young, while the hooting call is a short, sharp sound made by male loons to protect their territory.

While loons are mainly aquatic birds, their bone structure dates back about three million years. They were first known to swim in the water, and only a small portion of their bodies was capable of flight.

They are also much more adept at swimming underwater than they are outside of water and can dive as deep as 200 feet. All this makes them highly intelligent birds.

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Despite their similarity to penguins, loons have adapted to life in lakes and ponds. Common loons form pair bonds and perform mutual dives and bill-dipping.

The male selects a nest site along the edge of the water. Incubation lasts from 26 to 31 days. The young begin swimming immediately after the eggs hatch.

Within two weeks of hatching, they are transferred to their nursery area. At two to three weeks, the chicks can swim independently and catch small fish. After about nine weeks, they begin to mate.

Their Calls

Common Loons’ vocal behavior varies with climatic conditions. For example, loons produce more wails, yodels, and hoots during the early nest-building and egg-laying phases.

The output of these calls decreases as the breeding season progresses. However, the role of Hoots in territorial behavior is unclear.

In addition to their vocal repertoire, these birds also exhibit distinctive vocal patterns and rhythms during their breeding and migration periods.

The Loon Preservation Committee has identified four distinct calls of common loons. The calls are used for courtship, territorial disputes, and communication between pairs.

The calls are also used for signaling an emergency or warning to offspring and flock members. Common loons eat meat and dive for prey.

During nesting season, they bring chicks out of hiding places to approach their parents. The calls of loons may also be heard in Hollywood films.

Male loons give a distinctive wail that is similar to that of a coyote or wolf. This call lasts for approximately 6 seconds and is used to defend a territory.

Yodels are typically used to communicate between loons, and recordings of them can help identify individual loons. Male loons also give a yodel and a hoot to check on each other and keep in contact.

The common loon is the most widespread species of loon in North America. This waterbird is a formidable diver and swimmer, a veritable avian submarine.

The yodel-like call of the loon is a distinctive characteristic of the species and is used by males to defend their breeding territory. It’s also a way to entice females and assert their territorial claims.

Their Diet

If you are wondering about the life of this species of the loon, this article will give you all the facts and information you need.

Loons are migratory birds and eat various kinds of aquatic vegetation and animals.

The most common foods of the Common Loon include minnows, small fish, and other aquatic animals. Besides fish, loons also eat crustaceans, crayfish, and other aquatic plant matter.

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Common loons are good swimmers, and they can dive as deep as 60 meters. The large webbed feet of these birds make them excellent underwater predators.

Their large flight range requires a long run-up distance. While on land, the common loon glides on its belly and uses its legs to propel itself forward.

This is because their pelvic muscles are better adapted to swimming than walking. Common loons have different vocalizations.

One of the most common calls of this species is the tremolo, which sounds like a human laughing. They also use the yodel, which is a territorial call.

The hoot is also a territorial call. In addition to hooting, the common loon uses the wailing call to communicate with offspring and flock members. They use these calls during courtship displays and territorial battles.

While loons resemble ducks, they are more closely related to albatrosses and penguins. Their heavy bodies make them easy to distinguish from ducks.

Loons also hunt for small animals and fish, like crabs and leeches. They feed on fish, crustaceans, crayfish, silversides, and other aquatic animals.

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)



What is the Common Loon, and where is it found?

The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is a captivating waterbird known for its haunting calls and distinctive appearance. It inhabits freshwater lakes and ponds across North America and parts of Europe and Asia.


What makes the Common Loon’s calls unique and iconic?

The Common Loon’s calls are known for their eerie and haunting quality, earning them the nickname “the voice of the wilderness.” These vocalizations serve various purposes, including communication and territorial marking.


How does the Common Loon behave and feed?

The Common Loon is an excellent swimmer and diver, using its webbed feet to propel itself underwater in search of fish. It’s also a skilled flyer, though its legs are positioned towards the rear of its body, making it less agile on land.


What is the conservation status of the Common Loon?

While not currently considered endangered, the Common Loon faces threats such as habitat loss, pollution, and disturbances from human activities. Conservation efforts aim to protect nesting sites, reduce water pollution, and raise awareness about coexisting with these birds.


How has the Common Loon influenced cultures and traditions?

The Common Loon holds cultural significance in various regions. It’s a symbol of wilderness and pristine landscapes, often associated with natural beauty. Its calls have inspired art, music, and storytelling, connecting people to the enchantment of the wild.

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