Great Northern diver adult in breeding plumage on water in evening light

Great northern diver

Great northern divers, or common loons as they are known in north America, are one of the largest species of diver. Like the other divers they are specialised and powerful underwater swimmers, catching fish with thick, dagger-like bills by sight. The chicks are able to dive only two days after hatching and will often sit on a parent's back for a ride around their territory. An adult can be host to 40 different body parasites.

Scientific name: Gavia immer

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common loon,
  • Great northern loon

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Map showing the distribution of the Great northern diver taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Great northern diver can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Great northern diver distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Gaviiformes
  6. Gaviidae
  7. Divers
  8. Great northern diver