Gulls often try to steal fish from the loons if the loons have not swallowed the prey by the time they return to the water’s surface. Winters in coastal ocean waters, bays, and estuaries. Breeds in freshwater ponds and wetlands in the Arctic. The throat is black with sharp black-and-white lines down the sides. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. During the breeding season, Pacific Loons often forage in shallow nesting ponds, where they may take some prey without diving and sometimes stir the sediment with the bill, trying to locate prey. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Pacific Loons are abundant, but there is little information on their population trends. Often forages in small groups or in association with seabirds. Breeding adults have dove-gray heads and black upperparts marked with crisp white lines. Pacific Loons also eat small squid. In Japan, fishermen describe seeing Pacific and Arctic Loons forcing small fish into a “bait ball,” from which the birds can more easily extract individual fish. Catches fish by diving, using feet for propulsion. Breeding Pacific Loons are dapper birds with soft gray heads and intricate black-and-white patterning on the back and neck. Loons(Order: Gaviiformes, Family:Gaviidae). Audio File Credits: 1 Patrik Aberg, XC406246. Most nonbreeding birds have a dusky chinstrap, but this can be difficult to see. The IUCN considers the Pacific Loon to be a species of "Least Concern". In summer, they breed from the begining of the tundra to the arctic coast, with some nesting in the far northern boundaries of Quebec. Pacific Loons nest along the margins of freshwater lakes in tundra and taiga habitats of the far north. Nonbreeding birds often show less white on the back that other loons. Explore Birds of the World to learn more. At this season, they eat fish, snails, mollusks, insect larvae, and zooplankton such as amphipods. These were used directly to map loon habitats, and were used in developing a model to identify potential inland habitats. The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Male and female select the nest site together. Photo Information: May 22nd, 2014 - Near Eagle River, Alaska - Terry Sohl. In breeding plumage, the top of the head and back of the neck are pale gray, lighter than the face. Slightly larger and sturdier than a Red-throated Loon, notably smaller than a Common Loon. Pacific Loons eat mostly small fish, which they hunt below the water’s surface, swimming agilely with the feet to capture prey in the bill. Both male and female arrange mud and dead aquatic vegetation to make a basic oval-shaped nest on land; this process requires only a few hours. Kushlan, J. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. A heavy-bodied water bird with a long thick neck and a strong, pointed bill (slighter than a Common Loon’s bill). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Forages by diving underwater with a slight leap forward and then pursuing prey (mostly fish). On larger lakes, multiple pairs defend non-overlapping territories. The Gavia pacifica breeds in the tundra lakes of Canada and eastern Siberia and winters primarily on the Pacific coast where it can be spotted in the open sea or large lakes.The bird closely resembles the black-throated loon. The Pacific loon is one of five loon species in North America. Most nonbreeding birds have a dusky chinstrap, but this can be difficult to see. Often, Pacific Loons arrive in nesting areas before these lakes have thawed, and so their claim only begins when open water appears. These are usually in flat lowlands but sometimes in foothills. These pebbles (usually more than a dozen) remain in the gizzard, where they help break down the food. Nonbreeding/immature birds often have a dusky chinstrap. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA. In the ocean they sometimes hunt in loose groups, and they also forage in mixed-species flocks of auks, gulls, loons, and cormorants, with each species exploiting the schooling fish in a different manner. Breeding birds have pale gray head and nape with vertical black-and-white stripes on the neck and thick white stripes on the back. Nests are set on the edge of an island in a lake or on the lakeshore, directly on the ground. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. They also swim and dive strongly, using their feet for steering and propulsion. Downy and active; leaves nest within one or two days. It is medium-sized with a length ranging from 58 to 74 cm. Both males and females may confront trespassers with loud calls, threat displays, and outright attacks. Pacific Loons spend much of the day foraging, resting, and flying. During migration, often found in large flocks. Head and neck are gray. Ponds are large, at least several acres in extent, in order to provide enough open water for landing and especially for take-off. Habitat: Ocean, open water; in summer, tundra lakes. Partners in Flight (2017). 3) Pacific Loon. Closely resembling the Arctic loon, the two loons were considered to be the same species until recently. Nonbreeding adults are dark gray-brown above with very little white feather edging; and whitish below, sometimes with a neat dark line or chinstrap across the throat.