Great Northern Diver Gavia immer   [Brünnich, 1764]

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Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae
Number in Britain: 2500 birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Scarce Breeder, Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 80 cm Wingspan: 137 cm Weight: M/F: 4 kg    
Scientific name from: L.: Gavia, a seabird described by Pliny and Icelandic: himbrimi=surf-roarer
World Distribution: BREEDS: Greenland, Iceland, n Scotland, n North America, WINTERS: south to nw Africa, s Europe and s US
Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers
Diet: Mostly fish (to 28cm) also large invertebrates, amphibians
TitBit: The eerie, haunting cry of the diver gave rise to their original name - the Loon, which now used by Americans.  
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: No population trend available
Distribution: No distribution maps available
British Population Size:
    Winter: 2500 individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: 1666
    First Breeding Record: Wester Ross 1970
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 700 to 2 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), Bern(II), Bonn(II*)
Survey Results:

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 90 x 58 mm Egg Weight: 167.0 g (of which 11 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 2 eggs
Incubation: 24- 25 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 70 - 77days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: No data
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 6 years Typical Lifespan: No data
Maximum Recorded Age: Too few birds ringed
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: Check with Ringing Unit
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Common Loon
Gaelic: Muir-bhuachaille Welsh: Trochydd Mawr
Danish: Islom Dutch: IJsduiker
Finnish: Amerikanjääkuikka French: Plongeon imbrin
German: Eistaucher Hungarian: Jeges búvár
Icelandic: Himbrimi Irish: Lóma Mór
Italian: Strolaga maggiore Norwegian: Islom
Polish: Nur lodowiec Portuguese: Mobęlha-grande
Spanish: Colimbo grande Swedish: Islom
Local Names: Embergoose

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)