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Birds of PSSS

waterfowl loons grebes cormorants alcids

photography © David Gluckman


click to enlarge


What to look for:

  • Common Loon have a bulkier head and bill.  A white cheek and throat is interupted by a dark "notch" at the collar
  • Pacific Loon is smaller and sleeker than Common and has a thinner bill.  A dark neck and head and white throat form an uninterupted line.  At close range, a thin chin-strap may be visible.
  • Red-throated Loon has the palest head and neck, a dominant white cheek and throat with grayish head and neck.  The bill is pale and cocked upward.  At close range, a gray and white-speckled back may be visible.



click to enlarge


What to look for:

  • The bill, head and neck of a Common Loon in flight are relatively bulky. Look for the dark "notch" in the collar. Common Loon is a higher flier than the other two likely species, which most frequently fly low to the water.
  • Look for a small dark bill of a Pacific Loon in flight with a smooth, uninterupted line between the dark upper half and light lower half of the body.
  • Red-throated Loon generally looks paler overall in flight with more white on the face (the dark eye is conspicuous) and throat, a light bill and gray back.

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