Species of the Week: The Common Loon

Photo by Adam Kalab

#SpeciesOfTheWeek is back with an iconic Ontario species. Known for its majestic plumage and unique, mournful call, the Common Loon (Gavia immer) is seen on lakes throughout Ontario. Adult loons are long-bodied, large-billed, and have a distinctive checkerboard striped collar. With a low profile in the water, loons are indicators of good water quality because they require clear water to hunt their prey. Loons are very adept at diving and swimming underwater, mainly hunting fish and small crustaceans. Loons are extremely maneuverable under the water, using their large powerful webbed feet to propel them along. However, they struggle to walk on land because their legs are further back on their bodies than other birds. They prefer lakes with coves and inlets which can shelter their nests from predators. The lake needs to be large enough for takeoff, as loons require at least 25 meters of flapping their wings before they get airborne. Loons prefer coastal waters for overwintering, though some are known to overwinter on Lake Michigan. Unsurprisingly, loons are a common sight on Loon Lake, which is home to a breeding pair. Have you heard their calls in the campground?

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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