Pacific Diver

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Pacific Diver
Missing image
PacificLoon23.jpg
Photo: Loon


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Gaviiformes
Family:Gaviidae
Genus: Gavia
Species:G. pacifica
Binomial name
Gavia pacifica
(Lawrence, 1858)

The Pacific Diver (Gavia pacifica), known in North America as the Pacific Loon, is a medium-sized member of the loon, or diver, family.

It breeds on deep lakes in the tundra region of Alaska and northern Canada as far east as Baffin Island. Unlike other loons, this bird may migrate in flocks. It winters at sea, mainly on the Pacific coast, or on large lakes over a much wider range. It may be conspecific with Black-throated Diver, which it closely resembles.

Breeding adults are like a smaller sleeker version of Great Northern Diver. They have a grey head, black throat, white underparts and chequered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is drabber with the chin and foreneck white. Its bill is grey 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.

This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater. It flies with neck outstretched.

The call is a yodelling high-pitched wailing.

Gavia: Latin for sea smew (although divers are not Smew); pacifica: Latin, meaning of the Pacific.

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