Arctic Loon

Gavia arctica

This old world species is the least likely Loon to be encountered in the Pribilofs. There are only four documented records, all falling in mid June. All four records pertain to alternate plumaged adults, which are likely to be confused only with Pacific Loon. On a swimming bird look for the darker gray and blockier head, stouter bill which is often held up at a slight angle, and presence of a white flank patch. The flank patch can change shape and size depending on the birds buoyancy, relative position and level of activity. Note that some Pacific Loons will show a limited white flank patch. For basic plumaged birds the structural details and flank patch can still be used to separate this species from Pacific. Check also for a lack of a dark chinstrap (Present, but sometimes difficult to see on Pacific Loons). In flight the flank patch is still evident, as it wraps slightly around the sides of the rump. If both species are seen together the larger size of Arctic Loon will also be evident. Most of the Saint Paul records come from the shallow bay south of the Webster House.