email a friend
printable version
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
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 (km2) 5,170,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 5,170,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 9.8 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.200,000-590,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: <c.50 individuals on migration and <c.50 wintering individuals in China, <c.1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan, c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Albania Unknown Extant        
Algeria Vagrant Extant        
Armenia Vagrant Extant        
Austria Native Extant   Yes    
Azerbaijan Native Extant   Yes    
Bahamas Unknown Extant        
Belarus Vagrant Extant        
Belgium Native Extant   Yes    
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vagrant Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes    
Canada Native Extant Yes   Yes  
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Croatia Native Extant   Yes    
Czech Republic Native Extant   Yes    
Denmark Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Estonia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant       Yes
Finland Native Extant     Yes Yes
France Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Gambia Vagrant Extant        
Georgia Native Extant        
Germany Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Gibraltar (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Greece Native Extant   Yes    
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes      
Hungary Native Extant   Yes    
Iceland Native Extant       Yes
India Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant   Yes    
Ireland Native Extant       Yes
Israel Vagrant Extant        
Italy Native Extant   Yes    
Japan Native Extant        
Kazakhstan Native Extant        
Latvia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Liechtenstein Vagrant Extant        
Lithuania Native Extant   Yes    
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant   Yes    
Malta Vagrant Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Moldova Native Extant   Yes    
Monaco Unknown Extant        
Mongolia Vagrant Extant        
Montenegro Native Extant   Yes    
Morocco Vagrant Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant   Yes    
North Korea Native Extant        
Norway Native Extant     Yes Yes
Pakistan Native Extant        
Poland Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Portugal Native Extant   Yes    
Romania Native Extant   Yes    
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Serbia Native Extant   Yes    
Slovakia Native Extant   Yes    
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes    
South Korea Native Extant        
Spain Native Extant   Yes    
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant Yes      
Sweden Native Extant     Yes Yes
Switzerland Native Extant   Yes    
Taiwan (China) Native Extant        
Tunisia Vagrant Extant        
Turkey Native Extant   Yes    
Turkmenistan Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant   Yes    
United Kingdom Native Extant       Yes
USA Native Extant Yes      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Canada Île aux Basques et Les Razades site factsheet
Canada Point Lepreau/Maces Bay site factsheet
Denmark Eastern German Bight site factsheet
Denmark Hyllekrog-Rødsand and Fehmarn Belt site factsheet
Denmark Northern Kattegat site factsheet
Denmark Smålandsfarvandet site factsheet
Estonia Irbe strait site factsheet
Finland Käsivarsi fjelds site factsheet
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju site factsheet
Finland Litokaira site factsheet
Finland Martimoaapa-Lumiaapa-Penikat site factsheet
Finland Rumala-Kuvaja-Oudonrimmet site factsheet
Greenland (to Denmark) Nordfjord and adjacent valley site factsheet
Iceland Álftanes-Akrar site factsheet
Iceland Breidamerkursandur site factsheet
Iceland Úthérad site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of South Caspian shore, from Astara to Gomishan site factsheet
Ireland Tramore Backstrand site factsheet
Latvia Irbe strait site factsheet
Latvia Seaway to the border with Lithuania site factsheet
Latvia Tuja offshore site factsheet
Latvia Ziemupe-Riva coastal site factsheet
Lithuania Marine waters along the continental part of Lithuania site factsheet
Lithuania Marine waters along the Curonian Spit site factsheet
Netherlands North Sea north of the Wadden Sea site factsheet
Norway Froan site factsheet
Norway Neiden- & Munkefjord site factsheet
Norway Saltstraumen & Skjerstadfjorden site factsheet
Norway Været site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Forty islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Kunashir island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Mukhtel' lake site factsheet
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Shantar islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Tyk and Viakhtu bays site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Yuribey site factsheet
Russia (Central Asian) Upper and Middle Yuribey site factsheet
Russia (European) Vyborgski Bay site factsheet
Slovenia River Drava site factsheet
Sweden Dumme mosse site factsheet
Sweden Holmöarna archipelago site factsheet
Sweden Komosse site factsheet
Sweden Lake Ånnsjön-Storlien site factsheet
Sweden Lake Tjålmejaure-Laisdalen valley site factsheet
Sweden Påkketan site factsheet
Sweden Taavavuoma site factsheet
Sweden Vindelfjällen mountains (including Lake Tärnasjön) site factsheet
United Kingdom Blackpark and Gutcher, Yell site factsheet
United Kingdom Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands site factsheet
United Kingdom Hoy site factsheet
United Kingdom Lewis Peatlands site factsheet
United Kingdom Mointeach Scadabhaigh site factsheet
United Kingdom Ornkey Mainland Moors site factsheet
United Kingdom Otterswick and Graveland site factsheet
United Kingdom Ronas Hill - North Roe and Tingon site factsheet
United Kingdom West Burrafirth site factsheet
USA Barrow Canyon & Smith Bay site factsheet
USA Beaufort Sea Nearshore site factsheet
USA Chukchi Sea Nearshore site factsheet
USA Deception Pass site factsheet

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) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Tundra Wetlands (incl. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 500 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Gavia stellata. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Gaviidae (Loons/Divers)
Species name author (Pontoppidan, 1763)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 5,170,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment