Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
More commonly seen feeding around our shores in dull winter plumage. The Red-throated Diver or Loon is however one of our finest looking birds.
Known also as the Red Throated Loon or rain Goose. They are the most widespread of Divers. Found in North America, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and Northern Russia.
The distinct red throat, the mournful wale. All contribute to establish the Red Throated Diver as one of our most interesting, but mysterious, birds.
For the short time during the breeding season (April – September) the Rain goose changes to display a more glamorous appearance.
The Red-throat Diver is the smallest of the divers. It is about 53 – 69 cm in length and weighs in at between 1400 and 1900 grams.
Red Throated Loons breed chiefly in Arctic regions. It also however breed in the west and North of Scotland. Especially in the Islands of Shetlands, Orkney and Outer Hebrides. Moreover they are particularly fond of remote hill lochs located in areas of peat bog.
While around 17,000 birds over winter in the UK the breeding population is around 1,000 – 1,600 pairs.
As common with other Divers the Red-Throated Diver is primarily a fish eater. They will however feed on other aquatic life. For Example water insects, invertebrates and spawn.
Although very graceful on water Loons are very awkward on land. Because of the time spent on water their feet are poorly developed and more adapted to swimming.