Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Robert Bergman
Photo Courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica, is a rare migrant through Utah. It breeds at high latitudes in North America and Asia, and migrates to coastal wintering grounds south to Japan and Mexico.

At breeding grounds, the Pacific loon is found mainly at lakes and ponds in tundra. Nests of heaped vegetation and mud are constructed on high spots amid marshy areas, often on islands or on floating vegetation. Sometimes one egg, but usually two eggs, are laid in May or June. Nesting duties are shared by both parents for the 23 to 25 day incubation period. Young leave the nest soon after hatching and are cared for by both parents. Young are fed by the parents for the first five weeks until they are able to capture their own food. They are first able to fly after about two months. The diet of the Pacific loon consists primarily of crustaceans, fishes, and other aquatic animals.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.