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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Black-throated Diver

Bird Sightings : Black-throated Diver
Adult in Summer plumage

Black-throated Diver

Gavia artctica

Gaelic: Learga

Photograph © Andy L
Eiskein - Isle of Harris - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
7th August, 2007


Our Black-throated Diver photographs

Black-throated Diver
Black-throated Diver
Black-throated Diver
Black-throated Diver



Black-throated Diver records in the Western Isles

Uncommon Migrant Breeder (10-99 breeding pairs), and Passage Visitor (low numbers). Scarce Winter Visitor (Very small numbers each year)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Black-throated Diver is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

There are an estimated 217 breeding pairs of black-throated diver in the UK, about 20 of these pairs are in the Western Isles so our population is of national importance. We also see them around the coast sometimes in winter. (RSPB estimate 700 UK wintering birds)


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, and improved numbers in the Highlands.

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 black-throated 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 ...

BBC web site (article written in September 2007)



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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