Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Red-throated Diver
Adult in Winter plumage
(Red-throated Loon, Rain Goose, Cape drake, Cape Race, Rain-goose, Scape-grace, Sprat Loon, Cobble, Little Loon, Pegging-owl Loon, Pepper-shinned Loon)
Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Balinavich Beach - Benbecula - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
29th October, 2006
Our Red-throated Diver photographs
- Red-throated Diver (Red-throated Loon, Rain Goose, Cape drake, Cape Race, Rain-goose, Scape-grace, Sprat Loon, Cobble, Little Loon, Pegging-owl Loon, Pepper-shinned Loon)
- WI Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
- UK, AMBER LIST, 1200 pairs (Summer) BTO, 4850 Winter RSPB
- WI: Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs), and passage visitor (occurs in small numbers)
- Breeding grounds: North Europe, North Asia, North America, Arctic Canada. Arrive in March & April. Shallow nest (rush-lined) in rushes by ponds & freshwater lochs. 2 eggs late-may/early June. Departs in September & October
- Winters: Coastal waters south of breeding range to Southern Europe, China and Southern North America. Birds from more Northern parts arrive to winter off the UK's coasts in August & September - peak in October.
- Diet: Fish caught at sea, also some frogs (adults feed sand eels to their young)
- Smallest UK diver (24-27in long). Breeding adults: grey head. Thick neck with red throat, white below. Dark mantle. Non-breeding: drabber. White chin & foreneck also most of face. Red Iris. Bill up-tilted.
- Usually jumps up to dive. Remaining underwater up to 1.5mins & to depth 25ft. Very clumsy on land, ashore only to breed. Only diver that can take-off from land.
- Listen to a red-throated diver (RSPB site)
- Max recorded age 22yrs 11mths
RSPB and SNH have found that in the last 12 years black-throated divers have increased in numbers in the UK by 34%, and red-throated divers by 16%, with the greatest increase in breeding birds being in the Western Isles. Both species have however declined in Europe. So in September 2007 the black-throated diver was made a conservation priority by the UK government.
A diver's legs are a long-way back on it's body, this helps make the bird a great swimmer but barely able to walk on land, so the bird builds it's nest very close to the water's edge. A nest located like this is very vulnerable to flooding, so many eggs get lost, and numbers are further reduced by predators and egg-collectors. Someone had the bright idea of building the birds anchored rafts to nest on in safe areas in the middle of remote lochs. 58 have been created and numbers have increased ...
Red-throated Diver records in the Western Isles
Fairly common migrant breeder (100 - 999 breeding pairs), and passage visitor (occurs in small numbers).
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)
On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Red-Throated Diver is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.
(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
Other local bird photographs
Sources of information for the bird sightings section
Debbie's online photo album