Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
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Yellow-billed Loon

Yellow-billed Loon
Gavia adamsii
Duck-like Birds | Family: Loons, Gaviidae

An estimated 10% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

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.

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.

Voice

Yodeling calls similar to those of Common Loon but louder and harsher; generally less vocal.

Nesting

2 brownish eggs placed in a grass-lined depression, usually on an island at the water's edge.

Habitat

Tundra lakes and ponds in summer; inshore coastal waters in winter.

Range/Migration

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.