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Gavia arctica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES GAVIIFORMES GAVIIDAE

Scientific Name: Gavia arctica
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Arctic Loon, Black-throated Diver, Black-throated Loon

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2012-06-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
History:
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a wide range across northern latitudes, breeding on large, deep freshwater lakes across northern Europe and Asia. After breeding inviduals move southwards and towards the sea, wintering in sheltered coasts in the north-east Atlantic, and on the eastern and western coasts of the Pacific (del Hoyo et al. 1992).
Countries:
Native:
Albania; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan, Province of China; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Vagrant:
Algeria; Armenia (Armenia); Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Israel; Jordan; Luxembourg; Morocco; Portugal
Present - origin uncertain:
Monaco
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.280,000-1,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while the population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is strongly migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998). It breeds in isolated solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998) from April onwards (Flint et al. 1984), nesting later further to the north depending on the timing of the thaw (del Hoyo et al. 1992). On migration the species often forms flocks of c.50 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1992), generally occurring singly, in pairs or small flocks during the winter (Snow and Perrins 1998) and occasionally forming large congregations in rich coastal fishing areas (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat Breeding It breeds on deep, productive, freshwater lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1992) or extensive pools with islets, peninsulas and other inaccessible nesting sites (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species is most common on inshore waters along sheltered coasts (del Hoyo et al. 1992), occasionally also frequenting large inland freshwater bodies (Flint et al. 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1992) such as natural lakes or barrages, lagoons and large rivers (Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet Its diets consists predominantly of fishalthough aquatic insects, molluscs, crustaceans and some plant matter may also be taken (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest is a heap of plant matter placed near the water's edge (del Hoyo et al. 1992) on islets or hummocks emerging from the water, sometimes also on clumps of grass on the shore (Flint et al. 1984). Management information In Scotland the construction of floating artificial nesting islands (rafts) on lakes where breeding success was low and/or nests had been flooded succeeded in increasing the breeding success of the species in the area (Hancock 2000). In Sweden it was also found that nesting islands and areas of surrounding water should be included in sanctuaries for this species (Gotmark et al. 1989).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): During the breeding season the species is threatened by the acidification of breeding waters, heavy metal pollution and water level fluctuations (del Hoyo et al. 1992) especially during the incubation period (Gotmark et al. 1989, Hake et al. 2005). It also suffers from lower reproductive success due to human disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. from tourists or wetland visitors) (Gotmark et al. 1989) and is indirectly affected by breeding habitat alteration (e.g. afforestation) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). During the winter the species is highly vulnerable to coastal oil spills, especially in rich fishing grounds where large congregation may occur, and is commonly caught and drowned as bycatch in fishing nets (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species is also highly sensitive to disturbance from coastal wind farms (wind turbines) (Garthe and Huppop 2004) and is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Gavia arctica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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