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Common loon, or great northern diver (Gavia immer)—Wayne Lankinen/Bruce Coleman Ltd.
Any of five species (genus Gavia) of diving birds of North America and Eurasia. Loons range in length from 2 to 3 ft (60 to 90 cm). They have small pointed wings, webs between the front three toes, legs placed far back on the body, making walking awkward, and thick plumage that is mainly black or gray above and white below. They feed mainly on fishes, crustaceans, and insects. Almost wholly aquatic, they can swim long distances underwater and can dive to a depth of 200 ft (60 m). They are generally found singly or in pairs, but some species winter or migrate in flocks. They are known for their eerie laughing cries.
Variants of LOON
loon or diver
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on loon, visit Britannica.com.