Heavy Bones – Loons Bones Are Solid – Bird Facts

heavy bones

A common loon. Photo via Flickr.

Loons are one of the few birds that have solid bones.  Of all the birds in the world and Rocky Mountains why do you think loons bones are solid?

The other day I talked about what are waterfowl and the different kinds.  Some waterfowl are dabbling birds and others are diving birds.  Loons are one of the diving birds.  Heavy bones are crucial for the survival of diving birds and are a reason that they are diving birds.

How Are Heavy Bones Different Than Most Birds’ Bones?

Most birds’ bones are hollow, making them very lightweight, which makes it easier for birds to fly.  In contrast, some diving birds have bones that are dense and filled with marrow.  This causes the bones to be much heavier.

heavy bones

A common loon swimming underwater! Photo via Flickr.

Why Do Loons And Other Diving Birds Have Heavy Bones?

Diving birds are called diving birds because they dive under water to look for food.  They need to be able to stay underwater long enough to swim around quickly, search for and find food.  If their bones were hollow, the bones would be lifting them up to the surface of the water.

These diving birds heavy bones allow them to stay under water longer and find their food.  Diving birds do have other special adaptations that also help them stay under water such as being able to quickly get the air out of their feathers.

What Rocky Mountains Birds Have Heavy Bones?

Loons – the common loon is a good example of a diving bird in the Rocky Mountains.  These birds are larger than a mallard, but smaller than a Canada Goose.

heavy bones

A western grebe. Photo via Flickr.

Grebes – There are many different species that live in the Rockies, including the Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, and Horned Grebe.  They range in size from half the size of a mallard up to about the size of a mallard.

heavy bones

A double crested cormorant. Photo via Flickr.

Double Crested Cormorant – Cormorants are very common birds along the coastline of most oceans, but they can be found in the Rockies.  They can be seen standing holding their wings out to dry them or warm themselves up.