Here are the Red-throated Loon (Gavia Stellata, kaakkuri) photos as promised in my previous post Red-Throated Loon (kaakkuri) in Karnaistenkorpi. I met this beautiful bird first time this summer and it has been fascinating to visit their breeding bond in Karnaistenkorpi for couple of times.
Red-throated Loon (kaakkuri), also known as Red-throated Diver
The Red-throated Loon is the smallest member of loons. It lives in the Northern hemisphere and nests usually in bear bonds. The sexes are similar in appearance, although males tend to be slightly larger and heavier than females.
Red-throated Loon forages far from its breeding territory
Red-throated Loon eats mostly fish and it usually forages far from its breeding territory, returning from distant lakes or sea with fish for the young. Actually it is the only loon that breeds in a bond which is not rich in fish and forages far from its nest.
There seems to be some kind of a ritual related to the feeding: after the chick has eaten the fish, the parents gather close to each other head near the surface and they screech and moan very loudly. I noticed this ritual happened nearly every time the other parent returned to the bond with fish (listen to the bird).
The Red-throated Loons relationship can be lifelong, and the couple nests in the same place from year to year. Usually birds start nesting at about four years old. Male nest up to 30 kilometers from their birth pond, but females have moved more than 100 kilometers from their place of birth.
Nest and breeding
Red-throated Loon nest in a mat of Peat moss or a Sedge tussock, usually near a shoreline or even surrounded by water, enabling birds to swim right onto the nest with no need to walk.
Usually the female lays 2-3 eggs and after 3-4 weeks the babies are born.
Young Red-throated Loons learn to fly within six seven weeks. After that they leave the nesting bond to a lake which is rich in fish, but they may return for the night to their nesting pond.
And there it goes again
In the flight Red-throated Loons neck is often held low, which distinguishes it from similar species including the more common Black-throated Loon.
It has been inspiring to follow the Red-throated Loons in a misty mornings. I am sure I will visit the Ahvenalampi bond regularly before they leave it.
Minna from Finnish nature 😊