Alberta, Canada
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Red-throated Loon
Gavia stellata
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General Description

By Jim Davis

The Red-throated Loon has a breeding range in the circumpolar Arctic, as well as the Canadian west and east coasts. Annual migration is to the wintering grounds along the North American and Asian coastal areas, with some dispersal down the Rocky Mountain Trench as far south as Wyoming. Immature birds do migrate to Arctic coastal areas, but are more likely to remain at sea.

It is during this post breeding dispersal and fall migration, late October to early November, that a rare bird is more likely visit the Calgary area, usually to the Glenmore Reservoir. In Alberta it has a confirmed breeding status in both the Canadian Shield and Boreal Forest regions.

Their diet is mainly fish, supplemented by shrimps, leeches, snails, and aquatic insects. May travel to larger lakes or marine environments to feed.

Probably reproduces at two years. Usually a solitary nester, that returns annually to the same site to build a near shore nest on a bank, lining it with vegetation. One to three eggs, medium brown to yellow-olive. Incubation 27 days, attended by both parents, fledging at approximately 48-51 days. This small light bird, is the only loon capable of taking off from land.

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Where to find Red-throated Loons in Alberta   

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