Yellow-billed Loon
(Gavia adamsii)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

An uncommon bird that breeds in the central and western Arctic, knowledge of the trends and possible threats to the Yellow-billed Loon is limited. The status of this species' population in Canada relative to 1970 is unclear; it is therefore considered to be data deficient. The Yellow-billed Loon was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 1997, at which time it was considered Not at Risk. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Not at Risk1997 
IUCN (Global)Near threatened2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Watch list - yellow R2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Apparently secure2015 
State of North America’s BirdsWatch list2016 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
CanadaNot yet available

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaTo be determined

Conservation and management

Given its remote breeding range and relatively low abundance, little is known about potential threats to the Yellow-billed Loon. Nesting and brood-rearing habitat may be limited in some years by changes in water level or other environmental fluctuations, and by competition with other loons (e.g., Pacific Loon; North 1994). Mercury contamination may be a concern for Yellow-billed Loons; some birds overwinter in marine waters close to Asia which may expose them to higher mercury levels (Evers et al. 2014). Direct human impacts on breeders are likely negligible, but the risks posed to birds wintering offshore by oil spills, other forms of pollution, or mortality from entanglement in commercial fishing nets remain uncertain (North 1994).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other