Order Gaviiformes / Loons

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Order Gaviiformes

Also known as loons, there is 1 family (Gaviidae) and 1 genus (Gavia), and 5 species of birds in the Gaviiformes order.

How to pronounce Gaviiformes?

Order Gaviiformes Birds Anatomy

Here are some of their typical anatomy of birds in Gaviiformes:

Gaviiformes Birds' Anatomy

  • All kinds of birds in this order have sturdy webbed feet that help them swim in the water.
  • These birds dive to get their leading food – fish.
  • The feet of loons are placed closer to the tail, so they have difficulty walking on land.
  • Gaviiformes have dagger-shaped, sharp beaks.
  • Gaviiformes have flattened knife-like bodies.
  • Unlike most water birds, loons have short necks.

Fun Facts of Birds in Order Gaviiformes

The animals in Gaviiformes have difficulty moving on land since their legs are further back than those of other birds.

Loon Nest

  • These birds have web-like feet, sharp bills, and long necks.
  • The diet of birds in this order is primarily composed of fish; however, parents feed their young smaller foods such as crustaceans and worms.
  • When the loons do not cross-breed, their plumage is typically gray, brown, black, and white.
  • Birds in Gaviiformes are very protective of their territory, so much so that they will even resort to attacking others of the same order.
  • Although they cannot walk on land very easily, Gaviiformes birds make up for it with their agility in the water.
  • A typical adult bird in the Gaviiformes order usually eats around two pounds of fish per day; this amounts to just about 1200 calories.
  • Loons generally live in northern temperate areas like North America and Asia; however, migrate to warmer regions (usually coasts) such as the Mediterranean Sea and Gulf Of Mexico during the winter.
  • Animals in this order have a better diving ability than other birds since their bones are denser; this is why they are known as “divers“.
  • Gaviiformes birds almost always have the same mate for their entire life; they are monogamous.
  • Gaviiformes birds usually live in forests and tundra with ponds or lakes. During the breeding season, loons usually reproduce in freshwater ecosystems.
  • If they die a natural death, birds in this order often can live around 30 years.

Gaviiformes Species

Here are the 5 species in the order Gaviiformes:

  • Red-throated loon
  • Pacific loon
  • Arctic loon
  • Common loon
  • Yellow-billed loon

Cite this article as: "Order Gaviiformes / Loons," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, November 2, 2019, https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-gaviiformes/.

Key References

  • “Gaviiformes (Loons) | Encyclopedia.com”. Accessed November 02, 2019. Link.
  • “Gaviiformes – loons | Wildlife Journal Junior”. Accessed November 02, 2019. Link.
  • “Birds of Gaviiformes Order”. Accessed November 02, 2019. Link.
  • “Loon | bird | Britannica.com”. Accessed November 02, 2019. Link.
  • “The Common Loon” – Maine Audubon. Accessed November 02, 2019. Link.

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