Environmental Issues > Wildlife Main Page > All Wildlife Documents

Wildlife on the BrinkAlaska : Yellow-Billed Loon
Yellow-Billed LoonSpecies Gallery

Yellow-Billed Loon
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gavia adamsii

STATUS: Petitioned for threatened status

HABITAT: Large lakes in the high arctic tundra (spring/summer); coastal waters in bays and inlets and among island groups (winter)

LIFE HISTORY: Pairs are monogamous and share responsibility for rearing the young; nests in mid-June on islands or shallow areas

THREATS: pollution, habitat loss and human disturbances such as oil and gas development

RANGE: Northern Alaska, the northern Northwest Territories and Nunavut (spring/summer), to the marine offshore waters of southern Alaska and British Columbia (fall/winter)

CURRENT POPULATION: 3,000 to 4,000 in Alaska; global population estimated at 17,000

This superb diver can stay underwater for a minute and a half . It's the largest and probably the rarest of all loon species, numbering around 17,000 individuals. Yellow-billed loon nesting sites are scattered across millions of acres of fragile Arctic tundra -- much of which is in prime oil and gas drilling territory. Once displaced from their habitat, the birds are slow to re-colonize. What's more, their fish-based diet makes them particularly vulnerable to mercury pollution and contamination from oil spills and toxic solvents used in oil drilling.
NRDC filed a petition to list the yellow-billed loon under the Endangered Species Act, and the petition is now undergoing a status review.
Photos: Alaska © PhotoDisc; polar bear © Steve Amstrup, Alaska Image Library, USFWS; spectacled eider © Chris Dau, Alaska Image Library, USFWS; steller sea lion © Donna A. Dewhurst, Alaska Image Library, USFWS; beluga whale © Corbis; yellow-billed loon © Getty Images
Feature Home Print Version Alaska Northwest California Rockies/Prairie Southwest Midwest Southeast Northeast Hawaii International Polar Bear Spectacled Eider Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Yellow-Billed Loon

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

Donate to NRDC
Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: Den Defender

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Switchboard Blogs

Songbird SOS
posted by Jennifer Sass, 12/3/15
New Report on the Destructive Impacts of Energy Development on Wildlife
posted by Amanda Jahshan, 11/24/15
No Room to Roam - New Top Ten Report Highlights the Isolation of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears
posted by Sylvia Fallon, 11/18/15

Related Stories

Return of the Black Rhinos
Namibia's black rhinos are now more valuable alive than dead.
In the Bay of Whales
Getting up close and personal with gray whales at Laguna San Ignacio.
Share | |