Black-throated Diver

Gavia arctica

  1. Wildlife
  2. Birds
  3. Grebes and divers
  4. Black-throated Diver


The Black-throated Diver is a large waterbird: larger than the Great Crested Grebe but smaller than the Cormorant in size. Divers nest on small pools and lochs, moving to the coast for the winter where they feed on fish.

How to identify

The Black-throated Diver looks smart in its summer plumage, with a black throat, silky grey head and neck, and a black and white-chequered back. In the winter, it turns a very dark grey above and white below, with an obvious white patch on its rear flanks. It has a straight, dagger-like bill.

Where to find it

Nests in the far north of Scotland. In the winter, it can be seen on the sea around most coasts and sometimes turns up on big lakes and reservoirs.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Black-throated Diver is vulnerable to marine pollution. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Black-throated Diver
Latin name
Gavia arctica
Grebes and divers
Length: 53-58cm Weight: 1.6kg
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.