Pacific Loon

Gavia pacifica

The Pacific Loon is the most regularly occurring Loon in the Pribilofs. They breed along both the Russian and Alaskan coasts of the Bering Sea and winter largely south of the Aleutians along the Pacific Coast. The first Pribilof birds typically appear around the island’s shores during the third week of May. From then until the end of June Pacific Loons are generally detected on a semi weekly basis. There are no July records for Pacific Loons in the Pribilofs, but from late August through October they are detected most weeks. It is likely that with a concerted effort of seawatching this species would prove to be more regular. Although flyby Pacific Loons are possible from any oceanic vantage point, the best places to see swimming loons are Marunich, Webster Bay (South of Webster House) and the north side of Northeast Point. As far as identification issues go this species is unlikely to be confused with Common or Yellow-billed Loons. The smaller and brown backed Red-throated Loon generally holds its bill above the horizontal. See the Arctic Loon account for a detailed description of the separation of Arctic and Pacific Loons.

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