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Pacific Diver, Gavia pacifica

The Pacific Diver (Gavia pacifica), also known as the Pacific Loon, is a species of bird in the loon family Gaviidae. Its habitat is on deep lakes in the tundra region of Alaska and northern Canada as far east as Baffin Island, and in Russia east of the Lena River. Unlike most other loons/divers, the Pacific Diver may migrate in flocks, wintering at sea along the Pacific Coast, or on large lakes over a much wider range, including China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, USA and Mexico.

The breeding adult is similar in appearance to the Great Northern Diver (Common Loon). It has a gray head, black throat, white underparts, and a checkered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is duller with the chin and fore-neck white. The bill is gray or whitish and dagger-shaped. In all plumages, lack of a white flank patch distinguishes this species from the otherwise very similar Black-throated Diver (Arctic Loon).

The Pacific Diver, like all loons/divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater. When it flies, its neck is outstretched. The call is a yodeling high-pitched wailing, as well as harsh growls and barks.

Image Credit: US FWS / Wikipedia (public domain)

Pacific Diver Gavia pacifica


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