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Conservation status: Green

The smallest of the UK's divers, its grey-brown plumage and up-tilted bill readily distinguish it from the other species. In summer it has a distinctive red throat. They usually jump up to dive and can stay underwater for a minute and a half. They are very ungainly on land, only coming ashore to breed.



Latin name

Gavia stellata


Divers (Gaviidae)

Where to see them

Shetland is the UK stronghold for this species with other key populations on Orkney, the Outer Hebrides and the north Scottish mainland. They are also found along the whole of west Scotland south to the Mull of Kintyre. Outside the breeding season it is numerous along the UK's east coast, and occurs patchily along the west coast, with concentrations off west Scotland and around north-west Wales.

When to see them

They arrive on their breeding grounds in April and depart in September and October. Birds from further north start to be seen off the UK's east and west coasts in August and September reaching a peak in October. Most birds move back north in March and April.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1,000-1,600 pairs17,000 birds-




Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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