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Reproductive Behavior of the Common Loon

Sverre Sjölander and Greta Ågren
The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 84, No. 3 (Sep., 1972), pp. 296-308
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4160227
Page Count: 13
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Reproductive Behavior of the Common Loon
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Abstract

During the summer 1970, the authors studied a number of pairs of the Common Loon (Gavia immer) with respect to the reproductive behavior, on Iceland. The birds were studied from spring arrival till September, and the territorial behavior, courtship, copulation, nest choice, nest-building, incubation, and parental behavior was observed and filmed. The territorial behavior was observed and filmed rather extensively, and a description of the different movements is given. Of the several vocalizations the yodel is regarded as a territorial call, the wail as a low-intensity form of the yodel, the tremolo as a warning and agitation call. The courtship observed was very much like the behavior in G. arctica and G. stellata, but differs from earlier reports of G. immer. This seems to stem from the description of territorial behavior as courtship by many authors. The copulation, which took place ashore, was similar to the copulation of G. arctica and G. stellata, as might be expected. The nest site was chosen by the male, the main nest-building done by the female. Additional nest-building was observed when the parents relieved each other on the nest. The incubation period was 28 days. The parental behavior was as described in earlier reports, but differences noted in the feeding behavior (both parents feeding, no splashing or dipping of the food). The young were sometimes warmed ashore. A number of comparisons with G. arctica and G. stellata are made.

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