Gavia arctica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gaviiformes Gaviidae

Scientific Name: Gavia arctica (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Arctic Loon, Black-throated Diver, Black-throated Loon
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 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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 occurrence:
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 (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan, Province of China; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Algeria; Armenia; Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; Israel; Jordan; Luxembourg; Morocco; Portugal
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) - km2:43400000
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:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated to number c.275,000-1,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009). The European population is estimated at 53,800-87,800 pairs, which equates to 108,000-176,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). The European population is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 29.4 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing 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: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
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): 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II (Gavia arctica arctica). EU Birds directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. The following information refers to the species's European range only: Artificial nesting areas have been created to improve breeding success of this species and in Sweden nesting islands and the surrounding areas have been included in sanctuaries (Sibley and Monroe 1990).

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Key breeding sites should be identified and site protection implemented against development and human disturbance. Tighter legislation should be developed as well as penalties (national and international) associated with oil pollution from offshore developments and transport. Promote the proper use of corrective measures in longline fisheries to avoid accidental capture of birds.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Gavia arctica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22697834A86222087. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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