Bird Families

Red-throated loon, description, habitat, interesting facts

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Appearance... The size of a house duck. The beak is slightly bent upwards. The plumage on the back is grayish-brown with small light spots, the sides of the neck and the head are gray, there are white stripes on the back of the neck, the abdomen is white, a "special sign" is a chestnut speck on the throat. Young ones are brown in color with a white belly.

Lifestyle... Inhabits red-throated loon in taiga and tundra on lakes of different sizes; during the non-nesting period it can be found on larger fresh water bodies and seas. A common migratory bird. During the nesting period, it keeps only in pairs, builds nests directly near the water, on islands - more often it is just a hole with no lining at all or with a very sparse plant lining. Clutch is laid in early June and consists of two brownish-olive-colored eggs with brownish streaks. On the nest, the female sits tightly, she is removed only by letting the person almost close, after which she rushes into the water.

The red-throated loon is very characteristic of keeping on the water - it plunges deeply into the water, dives perfectly, and so quickly that it is practically invulnerable for hunting, may not appear on the surface for a long time, and in case of danger it raises its beak a little to the top.

The bird rises into the air only from the water, from a running start, and only against the wind. It flies hard, with its neck extended and the back of the body dangling. Before taking off into the air, he cackles loudly. If not on the nest, then the bird is as shy and cautious as possible.

The voice of a red-throated loon - shrill moaning screams.

The main food is fish. Prefers to fly from the habitat - lakes - to "fishing" to the sea.

The poultry can be eaten, but the meat is very tough. More often it is hunted for its fur.

Similar species... The chestnut spot on the throat and the lighter back are the main differences from the black-throated loon.

The appearance of a red-throated loon

The body length of the feathered representative is 50-70 cm, the wingspan is just over a meter. The upper body and wings appear to be a solid gray, however, when approaching, small white specks can be seen concentrated on the neck. The abdomen of the bird is light, almost white. A characteristic feature of the bird is a reddish and reddish speck on the front of the neck. Despite the rather bright color, the spot is noticeable only at close range; it cannot serve as a defining feature. The bird's beak is rather thin, slightly bent top. In addition, the loon has a habit of keeping it a little upturned, which is why many call the bird "snub-nosed". The age of an individual can be determined by the color of the beak - in young loons it has a gray tint with black edging, in mature loons the beak is completely black. The loons' feet are also black, with barely noticeable pink membranes.

Features of the bird's lifestyle

Today, the loon is considered an endangered species and is protected by environmental organizations in every possible way. The cause of the problem is the widespread pollution of the natural habitat. It is more difficult for a loon to look for food in dirty water, birds die from poisoning with heavy metals. Until recently, birds were actively exterminated by fishermen, moreover, loons got confused in the set fishing nets. Today, the population of red-throated loons is recovering in every possible way; artificial embankments and islets are even being built on the large lakes of North America to attract the bird population.

The red-throated loon feels great in the water, moves well, dives and swims great. If there is a danger, the loon can completely submerge in the water, leaving only the head and a narrow strip of neck on the surface. The ability to control the body is simply amazing - the loon can swim on its side, often rises on the surface of the water, flapping its wings, and in some cases it can even swim upside down - belly up. A loon is capable of trapping air for a whole minute, as well as diving into the depths of the water column for 10 or more meters. In flight, the loon resembles a duck, although it has larger and backward legs. In the air, the red-throated loon is a loner that does not even let a partner get too close. On land, the loon walks quite rarely, advancing with its belly and chest, pushing the body with its paws. The bird flies much more readily than its close relatives; in case of danger, the red-throated loon would rather rise into the air than dive into the water. An amazing feature of the bird is its ability to take off almost without a run. That is why the loon happily nests on small lakes, and flies to large nearby water bodies for food. Loons can live singly, in pairs and in small flocks of 6-8 individuals. During cold weather and winter migration, loons can form large flocks of up to 500 individuals.

The loon can get its food both during the day and at night, equally well orienting itself in the water space. The main food is any small fish. A loon swallows a small fish right under water, and brings a large one to the surface and kills with its powerful beak. In addition to fish, red-throated loons can feast on caviar, frogs and crustaceans. In early spring, when the lakes are still under ice, the bird happily feeds on the first vegetation.

Interesting Facts

The red-throated loon is not only a beautiful, but also an amazing bird that is interesting to watch.

  1. During the flight, the loon is capable of speeds of 50-60 km per hour.
  2. When red-throated loons fly to winter, they do not interrupt their flight not only during the day, but also at night.
  3. A red-throated loon is capable of making a special sound that is very similar to a cat's meow. So the bird scares away a stranger or drives him away from the nesting site.

It is very interesting to watch a bird lubricating its feathers. In the process, the loon can assume the most unusual and amazing poses, sometimes lying supine in the water, smoothing the feathers on the abdomen with the help of its beak.

Red-throated loons are a wonderful species of loons that amaze not only with their exquisite appearance, but also with their physical skills and abilities.

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