Also known as the Red-throated Diver, it is the smallest and lightest of the world's loon species, ranging from 53 to 69 cm (21 to 27 in) long with a 91-120 cm (36-47 in) wingspan,and weighing 1-2.7 kg. It is long-bodied and short-necked, with its legs set far back on its body. The sexes are similar, but males tend to be slightly larger. Breeding adults have a dark grey head and neck, a triangular red throat patch, white underparts and a dark grey-brown mantle. Non-breeding adults are drabber with the chin, foreneck and much of the face white, the top of the head and back of the neck grey, and white speckling on the dark mantle. It has a thin, and straight bill.

Habitat and Distribution

They breed primarily in the Arctic regions of northern Eurasia and North America, and winter in northern coastal waters. In North America, it winters regularly along both coasts, ranging as far south as the Baja California Peninsula and the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. In Europe, it breeds in Iceland, northern Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia and northern Russia, and winters along the coast. as far south as parts of Spain. They occur near large rivers, and reservoirs.


This bird is a fish eater. It sometimes eats molluscs, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic invertebrates, insects, fish spawn or even plant material. It seizes rather than spears its prey, which is generally captured underwater.


Both sexes build the nest, which is a shallow scrape lined with vegetation, a few feathers, and placed within a half-metre (18 in) of the edge of a small pond. The female lays two eggs, greenish in colour or olive-brownish spotted with black. Incubation is begun as soon as the first egg is laid, so they hatch asynchronously.