The Red-throated Loon is a monogamous species, meaning that the male and female loon form a life-long bond, and share much of the responsibility for raising their young. Both sexes build a simple nest and feed their young. These loons mainly eat marine fish, especially Arctic cod, but may also feed on freshwater invertebrates.
The Red-throated Loon catches its fishy prey while swimming underwater in the Arctic Ocean, then flies back to the nest pond to feed its young.
Leaving the nest
The arrival time of two Red-Throated Loons to their breeding pond is critical for the survival of their young due to the short Arctic warm season. The timing of the young leaving the nest is even more important.
Red-throated Loons generally lay and hatch two eggs, with the eldest of the two chicks commonly receiving more food. If the second chick does not get enough food, its development is slowed and it may not be able to fly when the ponds begin to freeze in early winter. Trapped by ice, the chick must find its own food, and can only practice flapping its wings in place before flying to the ocean without a single practice run.
A red throat
Male and female Red-throated Loons are very similar in appearance, with the male being slightly larger than the female. During non-breeding seasons, this species is mainly gray in colour, while during breeding season the loon’s throat turns a deep red.