The Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) is a migratory aquatic bird found in the northern hemisphere. The species is known as an Arctic Loon in North America and the Black-throated Diver in Eurasia, its current name is a compromise proposed by the International Ornithological Committee.
Breeding adults are 63 to 75 cm in length with a 100 to 122 cm wingspan, shaped like a smaller, sleeker version of the Great Northern Diver. They have a grey head, black throat, white underparts and chequered black-and-white mantle. Non-breeding plumage is drabber with the chin and foreneck white. Its bill is grey or whitish and dagger-shaped. In all plumages a white flank patch distinguishes this species from all other divers.
DistributionEditIt breeds in Eurasia and occasionally in western Alaska. It winters at sea on large lakes over a much wider range.
It is a vagrant to India.
This species, like all divers, is a specialist fish-eater, catching its prey underwater. It flies with neck outstretched. It feeds on fish, insects, crustacens and amphibians.
The call is a yodelling high-pitched wail.
The Black-throated Diver is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
Instructions for constructing and deploying artificial floating islands to provide Black-throated Divers with nesting opportunities are given in Hancock (2000).
On September 6, 2007, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) stated that it was surprised by an increase in the last 12 years in the breeding figures in the UK for the Red-throated Diver and the rarer Black-throated Diver of 16% and 34% respectively due to the anchoring of 58 man-made rafts in lochs. Both species decreased elsewhere in Europe.
Dr Mark Eaton, RSPB scientist traced the drop in overall numbers to warming of the North Sea which reduced stocks of the fish on which they feed.