Common Loon

(Gavia immer)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Common Loon


N4B, N5N - Apparently Secure Breeding, Secure Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding


not listed


Common migrant and breeder


Large rivers and lakes, often with islands

Photo by Christa Rittberg

28 to 35 in length

48 to 60 wingspan












Late March to early November





Gaviiformes (loons and divers)



Gaviidae (loons and divers)










Visitor Photos
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Gerry Garcia
  Common Loon    

Gull Lake did their loon count yesterday. It was a beautiful day to look for loons.

  Common Loon   Common Loon
Christa Rittberg
  Common Loon   Common Loon
  Common Loon    Photos




  Common Loons
Bill McMullen
  Common Loons  
  Common Loon
JMC Nature Photos
  Common Loon  
  Loons of Sherburne NWR
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Loons of Sherburne NWR  

June 10, 2012

Craig A. Mullenbach
  Voices: Common Loon

Uploaded on May 19, 2010

Experience the quintessential sound of the North Woods as described by Macaulay Library Audio Curator, Greg Budney.

Illustrated with beautiful photographs by Marie Read: and audio recordings by Steve Pantle.

Learn more about Common Loons at All About Birds:

To explore more audio recordings visit the Macaulay Library:




Visitor Videos
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Other Videos
  Call of the Great Northern Diver (known in North America as the Common Loon) Watch in HD!

Uploaded on Aug 2, 2009

This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater, diving as deep as 200 feet (60 m). The bird needs a long distance to gain momentum for take-off, and is ungainly on landing. Its clumsiness on land is due to the legs being positioned at the rear of the body: this is ideal for diving but not well-suited for walking. When the birds land on water, they skim along on their bellies to slow down, rather than on their feet, as these are set too far back. The loon swims gracefully on the surface, dives as well as any flying bird, and flies competently for hundreds of kilometers in migration. It flies with its neck outstretched, usually calling a particular tremolo that can be used to identify a flying loon. This diver is well-known in Canada, appearing on the "loonie" coin and the previous series of $20 bill, and is the provincial bird of Ontario. Also, it is the state bird of Minnesota.

  Loon at Goosneck Beach, "Winter Waves" - New Year's Day 2014
Don Gagnon

Published on Jan 8, 2014

Common Loon (Gavia immer), Gooseneck Beach, near Gooseneck causeway, Westport, Massachusetts, Wednesday evening, New Year's Day, January 1, 2014, 2:31 PM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_149708; 1:19 min.

Music: "Winter Waves-Megatrax" by Megatrax - Megatrax (Other, 0:59)

  Common Loons and calls

Uploaded on Aug 13, 2010

Common loons as seen in Alberta in June of 2010. At least 2 nesting pairs were on the lake. Filmed with a Canon XH A1.

  Through the Lens: Yellow-billed Loon

Published on May 1, 2012

The Yellow-billed Loon is the largest and most spectacular of the world's five loon species. It breeds around the globe in arctic and sub-arctic tundra lakes and is the northern counterpart to the Common Loon.

Watch this rare video shot by The Lab's Gerrit Vyn of a mated pair calling and foraging just after arriving on the partially frozen Breeding grounds in Chukotka, Russia.

  Common Loons in Minnesota
Nathan Steffenson

Uploaded on Dec 22, 2009

Minnesota's State Bird the Common Loon. This video starts off with Lake Superior near Baptism River & Tettegouche State Park. Later goes to Long Island Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern MN. The video ends at the Mississippi River in Brainerd MN. Nathan Steffenson

More info on loons from Minnesota DNR outside link:




Visitor Sightings
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Gerry Garcia

Location: Clearwater Lake, Wright County

Common Loon


Location: Cass County

Gull Lake did their loon count yesterday. It was a beautiful day to look for loons.

Common Loon


Do you have loons in your area? I am from Ky and want to see and hear some loons. Where might you suggest? Also what months?


Charlene; Yes, we have many Common Loons in Minnesota. But they are not found all over the state and they tend to be reclusive.

You might want to visit a state park along the north shore of Lake Superior. Another good location might be Mille Lacs State Park or Father Hennepin State Park, both on the shores of Mille Lacs Lake.

Most of my loon sightings have been on small lakes accessible only by trail in state or county parks. Sightings




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