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loon

loon, common name for migratory aquatic birds found in fresh- and saltwater in the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Its strange, laughing call carries for great distances. Like the grebes, loons float low in the water and their legs are placed far back. They are expert swimmers and divers, sometimes slipping below the surface to swim underwater, but they cannot walk on land and at nesting time must use bill and wings to inch along. In taking flight they patter across the water with their feet. Their long, sharp, strong beaks are well adapted for catching fish. North American species include the common loon, or great northern diver (Gavia immer), a black and white bird about 32 in. (80 cm) long; the red-throated loon (G. stellata); and the Arctic loon (G. arctica). Loons are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gaviiformes, family Gaviidae.

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loon

loon1 / loōn/ • n. inf. a silly or foolish person. loon2 • n. a large diving waterbird (genus Gavia, family Gaviidae) with a straight pointed bill and short legs set far back under the body. Five species include the common loon (G. immer) of Canada and Eurasia.

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loon

loon (diver) Diving bird of the Northern Hemisphere, known for its harsh call. It has black, white, and grey plumage. An excellent swimmer, it often stays submerged while fishing. Length: 88cm (35in). Family Gaviidae.

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loon

loon1 (chiefly north. and Sc.) rogue, scamp XV; man of low birth or condition; fellow, lad XVI. of unkn. orig.

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loon

loon2 name of various aquatic birds. XVII. prob. alt. of loom guillemot, etc. (XVII) — ON. lómr.

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loon

loonafternoon, attune, autoimmune, baboon, balloon, bassoon, bestrewn, boon, Boone, bridoon, buffoon, Cameroon, Cancún, cardoon, cartoon, Changchun, cocoon, commune, croon, doubloon, dragoon, dune, festoon, galloon, goon, harpoon, hoon, immune, importune, impugn, Irgun, jejune, June, Kowloon, lagoon, lampoon, loon, macaroon, maroon, monsoon, moon, Muldoon, noon, oppugn, picayune, platoon, poltroon, pontoon, poon, prune, puccoon, raccoon, Rangoon, ratoon, rigadoon, rune, saloon, Saskatoon, Sassoon, Scone, soon, spittoon, spoon, swoon, Troon, tune, tycoon, typhoon, Walloon •fortune, misfortune •vodun • veldskoen • honeymoon •forenoon • tablespoon • teaspoon •soupspoon • dessertspoon • Neptune •tribune • triune • opportune

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