Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer)
Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer). Juvenile. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on December 28th 2015.
Juvenile. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on December 28th 2015.
(1/500th sec at f11. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)


L: 73-88 cm; WS: 122-148 cm

A large, strongly-built bird. Its breeding plumage is largely black and white, with a greenish-black head. Juveniles have mixture of brown, black, white and grey feathers. Both adults and juveniles have a massive bill.

It is mainly found in North America, where it is called the Common Loon. There is a small breeding population on Iceland.

It breeds on large, deep lakes in woodland, and on tundra.

It is a winter visitor to Britain from its Icelandic breeding grounds, and mainly stays on the coast, although occasional birds turn up on inland reservoirs. Around 2500 birds over-winter here.

It is on the UK amber list as a large proportion of the European population over-winters here.


20-May-2019 : Ardivachar, South Uist (1)
19-May-2019 : Àird an Rùnair, North Uist (1)
12-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
09-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
05-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
25-Mar-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
07-Feb-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
04-Jan-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
28-Dec-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3)
06-Dec-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)