The area of the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront produced 3 Red-throated Loons. Some of the other species present and photographed were White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Greater Scaups.
Binomial name: Gavia stellata
Description: Dark gray feathers with a white throat and underparts, small black and white strips on the back of its neck. In breeding season, the throat turns red, thus the name. Small bill which fluctuates between black and dark gray.
Size: 21” – 27” long, 36” – 47” wingspan
Weight: 2.2 lbs. – 6.0 lbs.
Habitat: Large lakes, coastal shorelines, inland rivers, and reservoirs.
Diet: Primarily fish, occasionally crustaceans, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates, rarely plants
Nesting: Both parents build the nest out of a mudscrape lined with plant material and some feathers. The male will stand guard while the female incubates the eggs (2 eggs per clutch). Both parents feed and raise the young and participate in distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest. Mating pairs will breed for life.
Notes: Unlike other loon species which must take flight by running on the surface of water, the Red-throated Loon can fly directly from land or water. It also does not carry its young on its back.