Great Northern Diver / Common Loon

The Great Northern Diver is a characteristic bird on Icelandic mountain lakes.  You can hear its a special laughing call on the lakes and in flight its wailing calls resound in rocks and craters, creating an unforgettable atmosphere, memories of quiet summer nights. In USA it is called the Common Loon but in UK it is called the Great Northern Diver.

Great Northern Diver / Common Loon

The Great Northern Diver chooses its nesting place on islands or islets or else by the banks of the lakes. The nests are most often in moss or grass but sometimes on sandy lakeshores. The nests are usually about 1 – 2 meters from the water level. The eggs are usually two.

Himbrimi – Great Northern Diver / Common Loon – Gavia immer

Big clear mountain lakes full of fish are the Great Northern Divers favourite nesting place. Their main food source is trout. There is usually just one pair on each lake unless the lake is very big.

Fanning its wings

A nesting pair usually claims a whole lake as its territory and makes sure that no one gets too near and uses force to keep other Divers away.

A pair with a 2-3 week old chicks

Most Great Northern Divers stay in the ocean around Iceland over the winter time, a few go to the UK or West Europe.

A perfect place for the Great Northern Diver – Veiðivötn in the South Iceland highlands

There are around 300 breeding pairs in Iceland and it is the Great Northern Divers only nesting place  in Europe.