Great Northern Diver - Gavia immer


The largest of the UK's divers, it has a bigger, heavier head and bill than its commoner relatives.

Identification difficulty

Around coasts where it is usually solitary, often farther out to sea than other divers. Occasionally seen inland on reservoirs. Largest numbers off the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland and also the Cornish coast.

When to see it

It is largely a winter visitor to our shores although some non-breeding birds stay off northern coasts in the summer. They start to arrive offshore in August and birds move back to their largely Icelandic breeding grounds in April and May.

Life History

They feed mainly on fish and crustaceans.

UK Status

Up to 3,000 wintering bird annually in the UK.

VC55 Status

Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map