[Tweeters] White flanks on a loon does NOT equate to it being an Arctic Loon

Brad Waggoner wagtail24 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 1 15:05:55 PST 2021

Hi all,

It seems every winter there are a handful of reports of an Arctic Loon and “white flanks” are provided as the reasoning for the identification. The presence of white flanks is really not the identifying feature of an Arctic Loon. And all of our common expected species of loons can exhibit this feature to some degree depending on the individual bird depending on posture or behavior. The specific key feature to send one down the path of a potential Arctic Loon identification is an enlarged white “bubble” or oval area in the rear area of those white flanks. Then there are some subtle features such as a somewhat blocky head and larger bill than a Pacific Loon that will be of additional help. I think actually an Arctic Loon can tend somewhat more suggestive of a Common Loon than a Pacific Loon.

There are only a handful of WBRC approved records of Arctic Loon so it truly is a rare bird in Washington.

Good birding and Happy New Year!

Brad Waggoner

Sent from my iPhone

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