Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica

The Black-throated Diver is a large waterbird: larger than the Great Crested Grebe but smaller than the Cormorant in size. Divers nest on small pools and lochs, moving to the coast for the winter where they feed on fish.


The Black-throated Diver looks smart in its summer plumage, with a black throat, silky grey head and neck, and a black and white-chequered back. In the winter, it turns a very dark grey above and white below, with an obvious white patch on its rear flanks. It has a straight, dagger-like bill.


Length: 53-58cm Weight: 1.6kg


Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.


Nests in the far north of Scotland. In the winter, it can be seen on the sea around most coasts and sometimes turns up on big lakes and reservoirs.

When to see

January – December


The Black-throated Diver is known in America as the ‘Arctic Loon’. It can fish at depths of up to six metres, but usually only stays underwater for a minute.

Common name

Black-throated Diver

Species name

Gavia arctica

When to see in Scotland

January – December

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