Comprehensive Guide to selected species of:
Birds of the Boreal Forest « back to Guide
Yellow-billed Loon Gavia adamsii
Family: Loons, Gaviidae
Audio: Martyn Stewart, © Naturesound.org
An estimated 10% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.
Description 33-38" (84-97 cm). Breeding and winter similar to those of Common Loon, but bill ivory-yellow and seemingly upturned. In winter plumage, has more white on face; typically shows dark spot behind eyes.
Habitat Tundra lakes and ponds in summer; inshore coastal waters in winter.
Nesting 2 brownish eggs placed in a grass-lined depression, usually on an island at the water's edge.
Voice Yodeling calls similar to those of Common Loon but louder and harsher; generally less vocal.
Range Breeds from northern Alaska and northern Canada east nearly to Hudson Bay. Winters along coast from Alaska south to British Columbia, and occasionally to California. Also in northern Eurasia.
Discussion This large loon, closely related to the Common Loon, nests in a relatively small part of the Arctic, and is probably the least abundant of the five loons that nest regularly in North America. A winter visitor to the West Coast, it is rare enough to attract crowds of birders whenever it appears.