Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata   [Pontoppidan, 1763]

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Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae
Number in Britain: 1300 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Depleted
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 61 cm Wingspan: 111 cm Weight: M/F: 1.6 kg    
Scientific name from: L.: Gavia, a seabird described by Pliny and L.: stellaris=starry
World Distribution: BREEDS: n Eurasia & n North America, WINTERS: south to s Europe, se China and s US
Habitat: Shallow ponds & lakes
Diet: Primarily fish, captured by seizing in bill, also frogs, large invertebrates
TitBit: In Shetland this bird was considered one of the best weather indicators, short cries (or flying inland) indicated fine weather, long, plaintive ones (or flying out to sea) wet weather.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: No regional trends available
Distribution: No distribution maps available
British Population Size:
    Summer: 1300 Pairs in 2006
    Winter: 17 thousand individuals in 2001 - 2006
    First Record: 1771 [Fossil evidence from
    Latest Survey: Dillon, I.A. et al. (2009) Bird Study 56:147-157
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Species of European Concern,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 12 to 42 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(II), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 75 x 46 mm Egg Weight: 83.0 g (of which 8 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 55   (more would be welcome!)
Clutch Size: 2 eggs 1.80 ± 0.40 (1 - 3) N = 478
Incubation: 26- 29 days 27.21 ± 1.59 (24 - 29.5) N = 478   by the: Female (occ. Male)
Fledging: 47 - 54days 50.46 ± 5.37 (43 - 60) N = 593 as: Precocial, downy
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 12 Mar (19 Feb - 2 May)
Number of Broods: 1
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.840       
Juvenile Survival: 0.370 (to age 2 )  
Age at First Breeding: 3 years Typical Lifespan: 9 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 24 years 0 months 7 days (set in 2010)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: K*
Wing Length Adult: 289.9 ± 9.7 Range 279 - 304 mm, N =21
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: 1.68 ± 0.21 Range 1.43 - 2.03 kg , N =20
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Red-throated Loon
Gaelic: Learga-ruadh Welsh: Trochydd Gyddfgoch
Danish: Rřdstrubet lom Dutch: Roodkeelduiker
Finnish: Kaakkuri French: Plongeon catmarin
German: Sterntaucher Hungarian: Északi búvár
Icelandic: Lómur Irish: Lóma Rua
Italian: Strolaga minore Norwegian: Smĺlom
Polish: Nur rdzawoszyi Portuguese: Mobęlha-pequena
Spanish: Colimbo chico Swedish: Smĺlom
Local Names: Rain Goose

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Rankin, N. 1947 The haunts of British divers Collins, London [998 RAN]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)