Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pacific Loon

In a post last year, I wrote about identifying Common and Red-throated Loons. The Red-throated Loon in the top photo has a speckled back and a relatively small, slightly up-turned bill. The Common Loon in the middle photo has a much larger bill and more white around the eye. The third photo is of a Pacific Loon that I found below Lake Oahe Dam near Pierre, South Dakota. Field marks include the small, but straight bill and the dark sides to the neck. Little or no white surrounds the eye.

The Pacific Loon may be the most common loon in North America. It is rare, however, in the central United States. After breeding across North America’s arctic tundra, most individuals winter at sea.

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