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Great Northern Loon

Gavia immer


Breeding adults have a black head, white underparts, and a checkered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is brownish, with the chin and foreneck white. The bill is black-blue and held horizontally. The bill colour and angle distinguish this species from the similar Yellow-billed Loon. Adults can range from 61 to 100 cm (24–40 inches) in length with a 122–152 cm (4–5-foot) wingspan. The weight can vary from 1.6 to 8 kg (3.6 to 17.6 lbs). On average a Great Northern Loon is about 81 cm (32 inches) long, has a wingspan of 136 cm (54 inches), and weighs about 4.1 kg (9 lbs).


Found on a small shallow lake in Northern Wisconsin.


The adults have been banded, the male was banded a year ago, the female this spring. The little one was about 3 weeks old when these photos were taken. It was already starting to fish, or at least dive and mimic its parents. This little one is learning quickly what it is to be a Great Northern Loon. If there is enough interest in this series, I am rather certain I will post a second series shot the second day of viewing showing the little guy acting just like his parents.

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williefromwi 8 years ago

Thanks so much CarolSnowMilne for your kind words.

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thanks so much for the wonderful comment, and for following me Alina. I try to have high quality photos of my subjects in all my spottings. I have many other spottings up on Project Noah and am always willing to take on new friends on Facebook, where I post many more.

CarolSnowMilne 8 years ago

Great series!

alina 8 years ago

fantastic shots! great photos, a very nice moment, just lovely!

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks Ashley, I am glad you enjoy my photos. I am using a Nikon DSLR camera, and Nikkor lens as well. The camera is a DX crop framed body. I am more then willing to share additional information as to lens, and even camera settings if you are willing to email me for that information. My email address is on my profile page, or you can simply cut and paste it from here. It is I will say this, that if one knows their camera, any camera with a zoom lens is more then capable of getting quality static shots, and that includes a point and shoot with a zoom. If you are after flight shots, I highly recommend a DSLR.

AshleyHewitt 9 years ago

I love loons. And all of your pictures are wonderful! What kind of camera and zoom do you have?

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks for following me, CarolKingClemente

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks Satyen

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks Nexttogone

Wild Things
Wild Things 9 years ago

Wonderful series!

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks Alice, and Maria, for your kind words.

nexttogone 9 years ago

Beautiful series. I wouldn't mind seeing a second series either. ")

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks ForestDragon

Maria dB
Maria dB 9 years ago

nice series and love the last shot with the baby and parent; please do post a second series!

alicelongmartin 9 years ago

Pictures 3 and 5 are really nice!

ForestDragon 9 years ago

I miss living near loons and hearing their haunting calls. This is another stunning series! Beautiful!

Spotted by

Tomahawk, Wisconsin, USA

Spotted on Jul 21, 2012
Submitted on Aug 1, 2012

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