Bird Sightings : : Hebrides : White-billed Diver
(Yellow-billed Loon, Parsnip Bill)
Photograph© Carl Chapman: 19th April 2006
Skigersta - Butt of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
Our White-billed Diver photographs
- White-billed Diver (Yellow-billed Loon, Parsnip Bill)
- Gavia adamsii
- Passage migrant (Spring), Winter Visitor
- WI: Vagrant/rare passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in recent years), scarce winter vistor (very small numbers recorded in recent years)
- UK 4 -22 annual records
- Breeds in Arctic: Russia, Alaska, Canada
- Winters at sea: Coasts of Norway, Western Canada; & sometimes found on large inland lakes.
- Largest of the loons, 77-100 cm (30-40 in) length. Wingspan 135-160 cm (53-63 in). Breeding adults: black head. White below. Chequered black & white mantle. Non-breeding drabber with white chin & foreneck. Long straw-yellow bill looks slightly uptilted.
- Diet: fish, catches prey underwater
BBRC (British Birds Rarities Committee) records of the incidence of this species in Britain 1996 to 2006 are: 4,9,14,5,3,13,22,11,26,17.
White-billed Diver records in the Western Isles
Vagrant/rare passage visitor (very small numbers recorded in recent years), scarce winter vistor (very small numbers recorded in recent years)
(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
In his book " Bird's of the Outer Hebrides" published 1990, Peter Cunningham wrote that there were only four records ever of this rare diver in the Outer Hebrides, all off the coast of the Uists. In more recent years this bird has been a regular visitor to the Lewis Coast, usually found just offshore at Skigersta (or in 2008 Port of Ness) from mid-February, but most frequently in mid-April to early-May. In 2007 there were up to 7 birds along the Port of Ness - Skigersta - Tolsta - Tiumpanhead coastline.
The white-billed diver was seen off Lewis in February of 2007 and 2008 so now is a winter visitor as well as a spring migrant.
Other local bird photographs
Sources of information for the bird sightings section