Gavia stellata 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gaviiformes Gaviidae

Scientific Name: Gavia stellata (Pontoppidan, 1763)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Red-throated Loon, Red-throated Diver
French Plongeon catmarin
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Tarzia, M, Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

In Europe this species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in Europe.

Within the EU27 this species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern in the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Countries occurrence:
Austria; Azerbaijan; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Greenland; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Armenia; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Gibraltar; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Malta
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:2950000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):500
Range Map:22697829-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 42,100-93,000 pairs, which equates to 84,200-186,000 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 3,100-5,000 pairs, which equates to 6,100-10,000 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the Supplementary Material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe the population size trend is unknown. In the EU27 the population size is estimated to be stable. For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22697829_gavia_stellata.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:84200-186000,121000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:On migration this species may form large flocks of 200–1,200 individuals, with similar concentrations occurring on rich marine fishing grounds during the winter (Carboneras et al. 2014). The species breeds on freshwater pools or lakes in open moorland, blanket bogs (Carboneras et al. 2014) or open and wet peatland habitats (Campbell 1987). Outside of the breeding season the species frequents inshore waters along sheltered coasts, occasionally occurring inland (Carboneras et al. 2014) on lakes, pools, reservoirs and rivers (Snow and Perrins 1998). Its diet consists predominantly of fish as well as crustaceans, molluscs, frogs, fish spawn (Carboneras et al. 2014), aquatic insects, annelid worms (Snow and Perrins 1998) and plant matter (Carboneras et al. 2014). In winter its diet is almost predominantly fish, and in the Baltic Sea they opportunistically feed on spawning Herring, Smelt and Percids.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):9.8
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): When breeding the species is threatened by water level fluctuations and acidification of breeding waters heavy metal pollution and the afforestation of peatland or moorland habitats (Carboneras et al. 2014). It is also sensitive to human disturbance from recreational activities and shoreline development (e.g. construction work near breeding lakes) (Meek et al. 1993) and will desert sites if there is too much human activity (Carboneras et al. 2014). During the winter the species is highly vulnerable to coastal oil spills, especially in areas where large concentrations form (e.g. on rich fishing grounds) (Skov et al.2011, Carboneras et al. 2014). The North, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas have experienced severe oil spill events in the past, and remain regions at risks of future spills particularly with expanding oil exploration activity. This species is also highly sensitive to disturbance from coastal wind farms (wind turbines) during winter, causing a risk for habitat displacement and collision (Garthe and Huppop 2004, Bradbury et al. 2014). The species suffers mortality at sea and on large lakes due to entanglement and drowning in inshore gillnets (Carboneras et al. 2014), with potentially significant impacts on the breeding and wintering population within the Baltic Sea , where large numbers of birds overlap with intensive gillnet fisheries (Žydelis et al. 2013).  It is also highly sensitive to disturbance at sea, particularly from vessel traffic along shipping lanes, a particular problem in North Sea and the Baltic region due to high numbers of vessels passing (Schwemmer et al. 2011)  It is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006). As a species which breeds in the Arctic it is likely to be affected by impacts from climate change, including habitat changes and prey availability (Ganter et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed on Annex II of the Convention on Migratory Species, and is listed under the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. Listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention, and Annex I of the EU Birds Directive. Listed as critically endangered on the HELCOM convention. There are 58 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas for this species. Within the EU it occurs and is protected in 426 Special Protection Areas. Since the 1970s, conservation work in Finland has included building artificial rafts for this species to reduce predation risk, which has led to higher breeding success in some areas. Within the North Sea (Germany) work is underway to test alternative fishing gears to gillnets, while in Lithuania gillnet bycatch mitigation is being trialled.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Development of mitigation measures for gillnet bycatch for commercial and artisanal fishing vessels. Prevention of chronic oil pollution and oil spill events, and development of rapid, trans-boundary plans for oil spill response. Protection of feeding grounds, and regulations for vessel traffic, management of recreational activities at important breeding and non-breeding sites, careful siting of windfarms away from critical habitat or migration pathways.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Gavia stellata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22697829A60168888. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided