Black-Throated Diver

Scientific name: Gavia arctica

Did you know: The Black-Throated Diver, also known as the Arctic Loon, is a masterful diver, capable of reaching depths of up to six metres in search of food!

What Do Black-Throated Divers Look Like? (how to identify them)

Black-Throated Divers are striking waterbirds, larger than Great Crested Grebes but smaller than Cormorants. 

In summer, they display a beautiful black throat, a grey head, and neck, along with a distinctive black-and-white chequered back. 

Come winter, their plumage transforms to dark grey above and white below, with a noticeable patch of white on the rear flanks.

Differences Between Male And Female Black-Throated Divers

The male and female Black-Throated Divers are visually similar, making it challenging to distinguish between them based on appearance alone.

What Do Black-Throated Divers Eat?

Primarily, Black-Throated Divers feast on fish, skillfully diving underwater to capture their prey. Occasionally, they also consume aquatic insects, crustaceans, and molluscs.

Where Do Black-Throated Divers Live? (inc. migration info)

Black-Throated Divers breed in the far north area of Scotland, choosing small pools and lochs for their nesting sites. 

In winter, they migrate to coastal areas around most UK coasts, continuing their diet predominantly on fish.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Black-Throated Divers)

The Black-Throated Diver is generally silent during winter. However, during the breeding season, the male emits a loud, rhythmic whistling song, particularly notable for its volume and uniqueness.

Fun Black-Throated Diver Facts (kid friendly)

  • They can dive up to six metres deep for fish!
  • In summer, they boast a black throat with grey and black chequered patterns.
  • Their winter look includes a dark grey upper body and a white patch near the rear flanks.
  • They nest close to water due to their legs being positioned on the far back part of their bodies, making walking on land a challenge.
  • Their sensitivity to pollution makes them a rare and vulnerable breeding species.
  • Despite their aquatic prowess, they are quite clumsy when moving on land.
  • Known as the ‘Arctic Loon’ in America.
  • They can live up to 12 years or more.
  • While rare, they can be spotted around the UK coasts in winter.
  • Their breeding call is a rhythmic, whistling tune, quite unique to their species.

Black-Throated Diver Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Black-Throated Diver

Diet: Fish.
Bird Family: Divers
Length: 58-73cm
Wingspan: 110-130cm
Weight: 2.3kg (females), 3.4kg (males)
Scientific Name: Gavia arctica

The Black-Throated Diver Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December