Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Common Loon – Water Connection

In behavior and design, Common loons are superbly suited to a life on and under water. In fact, loons spend the vast majority of their lives swimming, and only a small fraction flying. Here are some ways loons have adapted to thrive on and around water:

• A loon’s sleek head, torpedo-shaped body, powerful leg muscles and webbed feet all are designed for diving and swimming. Its legs are set at the very back of its body, great for providing paddling power in the water—although the tradeoff is that loons cannot walk well on land.

• Loons look for food by “peering”—swimming along with bill and eyes immersed underwater, watching for fish. Crucial to this type of foraging is the loon’s superb vision, which filters out yellow, red and orange light.     next page >>

ML Reeb writer: Laurence Wiland design: T. Yao