About two feet long. Glossy greenish black
head and neck. Black back fading to ashy gray on lower back and tail. Brown wings with a
black bar across white coverts. White breast with a pinkish tinge. Toothed red bill.
North America, nesting from Minnesota, the Great Lakes region and New England
States far into Northern Canada beyond the tree limit, much further south in the western
states. Winters from New England states, Illinois, and Kansas southward and in western
North America from British Columbia to California, Texas and Mexico. Also common in
Europe, Asia, Iceland, Greenland and the Orkney Islands.
Builds nests of leaves, grasses and moss lined with their own down
in tree hollows, cliffs and nest boxes.
Lays six to sixteen ivory-white eggs around June which hatch after about one month of
incubation. Young are led to water and tended to while still quite young and learn to fly
at about two months.
Dives for fish, frogs and mollusks. A gluttonous bird that often
swallows fish so large that it must wait to swallow completely until the fish's head is
Such an adept swimmer, it will dive into raging torrents after fish and even under ice
until water is nearly completely frozen over isolating it from its food when it finally
flies south in small flocks of six or eight.