Arctic Loon Gavia arctica


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2013 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 49,800,000 km2 medium
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 43,400,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown poor estimated 2012
Population trend decreasing - suspected -
Generation length 9.8 years - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.275,000-1,500,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009). The European population is estimated at 53,800-87,800 pairs, which equates to 108,000-176,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). The European population is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% over three generations (29.4 years) (BirdLife International 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Albania extant native yes
Algeria extant vagrant
Armenia extant vagrant
Austria extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Belarus extant native yes yes
Belgium extant native yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native
Bulgaria extant native yes
China (mainland) extant native
Croatia extant native yes
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant native yes yes
Estonia extant native yes yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant vagrant
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes yes
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant native yes yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant vagrant
Greece extant native yes
Hungary extant native yes
India extant native
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Ireland extant native yes
Israel extant vagrant
Italy extant native yes
Japan extant native
Jordan extant vagrant
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kyrgyzstan extant native yes
Latvia extant native yes
Lithuania extant native yes yes
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Mexico extant native
Moldova extant native yes yes
Monaco extant uncertain
Mongolia extant native yes
Montenegro extant native yes
Morocco extant vagrant
Netherlands extant native yes
North Korea extant native
North Macedonia extant native yes
Norway extant native yes yes
Poland extant native yes yes
Portugal extant vagrant
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Serbia extant native yes
Slovakia extant native yes
Slovenia extant native yes
South Korea extant native
Spain extant native yes
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) extant native yes
Sweden extant native yes yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Taiwan, China extant native
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native yes
Ukraine extant native yes yes
United Kingdom extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Sweden Lake Ånn – Storlien
Finland Kukkiajärvi lake
Finland Lake Pihlajavesi
Finland Outokumpu and Kaavi oligotrophic lakes
Finland Kitka lake
Russia (European) Berezoviye islands of Vyborg Bay
Russia (European) Russki Zavorot Peninsula and eastern part of Malozemelskaya Tundra
Denmark Northern Kattegat
Denmark Smålandsfarvandet
Denmark Hyllekrog-Rødsand and Fehmarn Belt
Denmark Eastern German Bight
Sweden Tärnan – Riala
Russia (European) Seskar island
Russia (European) Vyborgski Bay
Russia (Asian) Tyk and Viakhtu bays
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay
Russia (Asian) Lesser Kuril Ridge and Kunashir Island
Russia (Asian) Forty Islands
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons
Russia (European) Kuloy river
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Ob'
United Kingdom Knapdale Lochs
Sweden Holmöarna Archipelago
Sweden Färnebofjärden
United Kingdom Loch Shiel
United Kingdom Lairg and Strathbora Lochs
United Kingdom Rannoch Lochs
United Kingdom Wester Ross Lochs
Sweden Lake Solgen
United Kingdom Assynt Lochs
United Kingdom Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands
United Kingdom Inverpolly, Loch Urigill and nearby lochs
United Kingdom Lewis Peatlands
United Kingdom Loch Maree
United Kingdom Loch Shin and nearby lochs
United Kingdom Mointeach Scadabhaigh
United Kingdom South Cornwall Coast
United Kingdom West Inverness-shire Lochs
United Kingdom Loch Stack, Loch Nam Brac and nearby lochs
Italy Circeo National Park and Pontine islands
Germany Eastern part of German Bight (with Heligoland)
Germany Pomeranian bay
Lithuania Labanoras Regional Park
Croatia NW Dalmatia and Pag Island
Croatia Kvarner Islands
Croatia Western Istrian Maritime Zone
Serbia Labudovo okno
Serbia Srebrno jezero - Golubac
Serbia Usce Save u Dunav

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 500 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Shipping lanes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Gavia arctica. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.