Loon flapping


Now and then, I have watched a loon rise out of the water and flap its wings. Why is it doing this?

The Web gives me conflicting explanations of this behaviour. Some sources explain that this is merely an adjunct to preening: the loon is realigning its feathers. Other sources say that this is a territorial display: go away, this area is mine.

I watched a loon do this on a mountain lake this morning. I just don’t know if it was merely primping, or was challenging me. Who knows?

A Common Loon rose out of the water and flapped its wings.


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3 Responses to Loon flapping

  1. Leslie Myles-Sanders says:

    But as you know, plenty of birds do this. I watch Canada geese doing it regularly, as with mallards as well. I’ve decided that it’s not to dry the feathers, as with anhinghas. It doesn’t appear to be connected to aggression. Maybe just stretching?

  2. Mary Williams says:

    They are saying to all around “stay out of my territory”! A warning stance! I believe this makes them larger in appearance to another male or even another bird species. I watch Osprey and they do this and usually with a warning call! Saw a YouTube just recently where an Eagle tried to get the soon to hatched egg of a Loon. Eagle didn’t get it but the next day, chick was hatched, Eagle flew in, Loon attacked and feathers out like this. Eagle didn’t get the chick but it died in the attack!

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