Gavia pacifica - (Lawrence, 1858)
Pacific Loon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Gavia pacifica (Lawrence, 1858) (TSN 174475)
French Common Names: plongeon du Pacifique
Spanish Common Names: Colimbo Pacífico
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100814
Element Code: ABNBA01050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Gaviiformes Gaviidae Gavia
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Gavia pacifica
Taxonomic Comments: Frequently regarded as a subspecies of G. arctica, but currently considered a distinct species (AOU 1985, 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N4N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N3N4N,N5M (07Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (S5B,S4N), Arizona (S1N), California (SNRN), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Minnesota (SNRM), Navajo Nation (S1N), New Mexico (S4N), North Carolina (SNA), Texas (S2S3N), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Washington (S4S5N)
Canada British Columbia (S4S5B,S4N), Manitoba (S4S5B), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S3B), Quebec (S3B), Saskatchewan (S3M), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: eastern Siberia from Arctic coast south to Anadyrland; Arctic coast of Alaska and Canada east to Baffin Island, south to southern Alaska, southwestern Yukon, northern Manitoba, and northwestern Quebec. WINTERS: south to Japan and along Pacific coast of North America south to Baja California and southern Sonora. In North America, areas of highest winter density include British Columbia around Vancouver Island, Monterey Bay in California, and near Point Whiteshed in Alaska (Root 1988). Casual/uncommon migrant inland in western U.S., very rare on east coast (NGS 1983).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: eastern Siberia from Arctic coast south to Anadyrland; Arctic coast of Alaska and Canada east to Baffin Island, south to southern Alaska, southwestern Yukon, northern Manitoba, and northwestern Quebec. WINTERS: south to Japan and along Pacific coast of North America south to Baja California and southern Sonora. In North America, areas of highest winter density include British Columbia around Vancouver Island, Monterey Bay in California, and near Point Whiteshed in Alaska (Root 1988). Casual/uncommon migrant inland in western U.S., very rare on east coast (NGS 1983).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AZ, CA, ID, IL, MN, NC, NM, NN, TX, UT, VT, WA
Canada BC, MB, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Bannock (16005), Bingham (16011), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Clark (16033), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Jefferson (16051), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077), Valley (16085)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Camas (17040220)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: See Stallcup (1994) for information on identification of North American loons.
Diagnostic Characteristics: G. ARCTICA has more white on the flanks at the waterline than does G. PACIFICA (see McCaskie et al. 1990, Roberson 1989, and Schulenberg 1989 for further details).
Reproduction Comments: Breeding begins in early May in south, to mid-June in north. Both adults, in turn, incubate usually 2 eggs, 28-29 days. Hatching occurs in second half of July around Beaufort Sea (Johnson and Herter 1989). Young are tended by both parents, first fly at about 2 months, independent by about 3 months. Pair-bond apparently is life-long. Nest density is up to 2.6 per sq km in Alaska (Johnson and Herter 1989).
Ecology Comments: Occurs singly, in pairs, or small groups. In winter off California, usually solitary or in pairs. Overall breeding density on arctic coastal plain estimated at about 1 pair per 200 ha; 5 nests observed on 1 pond of 21 ha (Johnsgard 1987). Egg predation by foxes, jaegers, and gulls sometimes is significant.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Highly migratory (small flocks); some travel 12,000 miles/years (Oberholser 1974); others move only to coastal waters near breeding range. Main migration in California: November-early December, late April-May; in southern California, spring migration peaks sometimes between mid-April and early May (Russell and Lehman 1994). Arrives southeastern Alaska by early May, arctic coast early June (sometimes late May). Peak fall migration in arctic Alaska late August-September (Johnson and Herter 1989).
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Habitat Comments: Nonbreeding: primarily seacoasts, bays and estuaries, less frequently on lakes and rivers (AOU 1983). In winter off central California, generally stays 2-8 km offshore (see Root 1988). In spring in southern California, migrants may be attracted to cool waters near the frontal boundaries of upwelling plumes, where loon prey is attracted by concentrations of zooplankton (Russell and Lehman 1994).

Nests on lakes/ponds in tundra or taiga. Usually nests on largest pond available (0.2-21 ha in one study area); selects ponds with islands or wet grassy areas. Nests on ground in scrape or on mound of material on ground in or very near water. Prefers to nest on island or at end of point extending into water (Johnson and Herter 1989).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds on fishes as well as crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic insects; also eats aquatic seeds and some aquatic vegetation. Small shoal fishes often important in winter. Food obtained underwater during dives usually less than 1 minute. In some areas, nesting birds feed in lakes and ponds adjacent to their nest sites; in other areas, they make regular foraging flights to nearshore marine waters (Andres 1993).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 66 centimeters
Weight: 1659 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Loons

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map multiple nesting territories on the same lake by enclosing them in a single polygon, using the shoreline of the lake as the boundary. The occurrence should include the parts of the lake used for courtship, nesting, brood rearing and feeding. Map nesting territories or foraging areas on multiple lakes or other water bodies with multiple polygons using the shorelines as the polygon boundaries. For one pair on a lake of less than 80 hectares, the boundary will usually be the entire lake shore.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Loons are large birds that often fly between lakes or, in many cases, to marine environments to feed. Red-throated Loons fly up to 14-20 kilometers from the nest to feed (summarized by Barr et al. 2000). Thus a large separation distance is appropriate; the distance is a compromise between the high mobility of loons and the need for occurrences of practical size for conservation purposes. Occurrences do not necessarily reflect discrete populations or metapopulations.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Home range sizes generally not available. This distance based conservatively on a breeding territory size of 80 hectares; i.e. does not include foraging lakes or salt water separate from nesting lake.
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally reliable observations of 25 birds in appropriate habitat for at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary. Ecology of wintering loons not well known. Apparently have territories of 4-8 hectares under some circumstances, but raft together at night (McIntyre 1978); in other studies gathered in feeding assemblages (Daub 1989).
Date: 11Apr2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 31Aug1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • BirdLife International. 2004b. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

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  • Johnsgard, P. A. 1987. Diving birds of North America. Univ. Nebraska Press, Lincoln. xii + 292 pp.

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
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