Thursday, 20 December 2012

Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer)

OTHER NAMES: Common Loon, Great Northern Loon
Latin Etymology: Gavia (name in Latin for an unidentified seabird) immer (Norwegian name for species)
Winter plumage adult Great Northern Diver at Queen Mother Reservoir, London - December 2012

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 4.1kg  /  Length: 65-91cm  /  Wingspan: 137cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Divers, and Great Northern Diver in particular have long been a bit of a bugbear for me, I've looked for them on several occasions in places they've supposed to be and it wasn't until I wasn't looking for one that I happened to stumble across it!  The Great Northern is the largest of the three regular divers to frequent our waters but also the only one that doesn't breed.  They are roughly cormorant sized and shaped but are stockier with long dagger like beaks.  They do as the name suggest, spend a lot of time underwater hunting for fish meaning they can, as this one did, just vanish into nowhere despite being on a flat lake with nowhere to hide.

- Related Species -
ORDER: Gaviiformes
FAMILY: Gaviidae
GENUS: Gavia
SUBSPECIES: None - monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Scarce Winter Migrant (approx. 2600 birds)
 - Wintering bird seen on Queen Mother Reservoir (1 Winter plumage adult in 2012).  .

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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