Its diet consists almost entirely of fish, but they also eat crustaceans, amphibians, snails, salamanders, leeches, and frogs. Incredible common loon facts! Because of the loons need for a runway, they must be careful only to land in areas where there will be enough surface water for them to take off again. In winter, they have gray eyes. Deep diver: The common loon can dive as much as 200 feet underwater to catch fish! The female and male will work as a team to create a nest close to the water. Mercer, Wisconsin, promotes itself as the "Loon Capital of the World". The red coloration is thought to help it to identify other loons from far away, and may even aid the bird in seeing underwater. Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and various areas around the USA are where the Common Loon lives. Listen for the distinct sounds that loons make. One possible reason for the red eyes of the loon is that the color helps them to see underwater, filtering out blue and green light. Keep in mind that these birds migrate, so plan appropriately depending on where you will be observing. Until then they are often seen in the water, riding on their mother’s back. When mature they can be up to 17 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 5 feet. They also make a noise that sounds like laughter. A long-bodied, low-slung diver. The common loon spends little time on land though, typically only going ashore to nest. Loons find their prey by sight and prefer clear lakes where they can spot their prey through the water. Unmated loons as well as juveniles (which are too young to breed) can be found on salt water during this same season. Common Loons are powerful, agile divers that catch small fish in fast underwater chases. Then they will both bring food to them to help them with survival. Of these species, the Common Loon is the most widespread and well-known. There is usually only one pair of Loons found nesting on smaller lakes. Loons prefer to build their nests on areas completely surrounded by water, such as islands or emergent vegetation. It is handy to carry along a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. The eerie calls of Common Loons echo across clear lakes of the northern wilderness. They are excellent indicators of water quality as they require crystal-clear lakes (which makes it easier for them to see prey underwater) with abundant populations of small fish. They also have a yodeling sound which is often one that is used to protect territory. In such places they are solitary while feeding, but may gather in loose flocks at night. They are graceful swimmers but they are very clumsy when it comes to landing. Non-breeding adults are brownish with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey-brown. Loons are large birds, and to take off, they need to use a runway - first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping. Since the summer coincides with their mating season, the former is a likely reason. Loons have lifespan up to 30 years. They are graceful swimmers but they are very clumsy when it comes to landing. Once in the air, loons can cover hundreds of miles in one flight. The common loon is a carnivorous bird. Common loon. Loons, which are the size of a large duck or a small goose, resemble these birds in shape when swimming. To take off, loons will need to use a runway - first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping. Loons sport their famous red eyes in summer. Loons will take care of their chicks for about 3 months, feeding them exclusively for about 6 weeks until the chicks learn to feed themselves. The loon gets its name from the clumsy way it walks on land. Summer adults are regally patterned in black and white. The common loon makes its nest close to the water’s edge with leaves and plants. Common Loon Fact Sheet Photo by C. Eves-Thomas. They will also consume mollusks, crustaceans, plants, and other debris that they are able to come across in the water. Those that aren’t breeding will be brown with white. Despite their large wingspan, loons have relatively small wings for their size. The Common Loon is often referred to as the Great Northern Diver. It was once thought that loons mate for life, but that isn't true. Loons migrate at altitudes of 3000-5000 feet. Loons build their nests close to the shore, and prefer to build nests in areas completely surrounded by water. The Common Loon has a red tint to their eyes that gives them a very neat appearance. Loons are timid so remember to not make any noise or movements. Loon parents will feed their children for about six weeks until their young learn to feed by themselves. The tremolo, which sounds a bit like maniacal laughter, is an aggressive call. Find unique Loon Gifts & Decor in our wildlife store. Once submerged, common loons can hold their breath for as long as eight minutes. 5 Birds Perfectly Adapted to Modern Cities. Your contribution will be appreciated to improve our site. They are heavy eaters and will spend many hours a day consuming any food that they can find. However, loons can spend up to 20 years together. Common Loons are a classic bird of the North Woods lakes. Due to the amount of fish that they consume, a threat to them is that they may have too much mercury in their bodies. This diving bird is known for its high-pitched call. It is common for the loon to abandon her eggs if she is scared off the nest. Sit near a large, quiet body of water in the geographic range they are located. Loons are the provincial bird of Ontario and the state bird of Minnesota. The common loon breeds in northern North America, Greenland, and Iceland. During the winter, it lives along the coasts and in the big lakes of North America and Europe. The hoot, a shorter call, is used to communicate among parents and young. Common Loons, also known as Great Northern Loons, are large migratory water birds, weighing an average of 9 pounds and measuring up to 36 inches in length with a five foot long wingspan. Like us on Facebook for 5% off your order, Largest selection of rustic cabin decor on the web.