35 Birds that Dive (A to Z List with Pictures)

Birds that Dive

Examples of birds that dive include American Black Duck, American Dipper, Anhinga, Auk, and Black Guillemot.

Birds can plunge into the water to catch their prey with stunning accuracy. What’s even more amazing is that they can return to the surface and fly away with their meal. This skill requires a great deal of athleticism and coordination.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most impressive birds that dive. We’ll also learn about the different techniques they use to capture their prey may it be diving for food on land or underwater.

Examples of Birds that Dive

1. American Black Duck

Scientific NameAnas rubripes
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The American black duck is a large dabbling duck that is found in North America. It is closely related to the mallard and shares many of its characteristics including its plumage, habitat, and diet. One of the key differences between the two species is that the American black duck has darker plumage.

The American black duck is an excellent diver and is known to plunge into the water to catch its prey. It has been recorded diving as deep as 15 feet (4.6 meters). The duck uses its powerful legs to propel itself underwater where it uses its beak to snatch up fish, crustaceans, and other small aquatic animals.

2. American Dipper

Scientific NameCinclus mexicanus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America and Central America

The American dipper is one of the most agile and athletic birds when it comes to diving. It is a very small songbird with brownish-grey feathers and a short, stubby bill, which allows it to dive into the water with ease.

Like other bird species, the American dipper uses different techniques to capture its prey. It can dive underwater in search of aquatic insects, crustaceans, and small fish. In addition to diving, it can also wade into shallow water and scoop up its food directly from the surface.

Related Article: Do American Dipper Eat Fish?

3. Anhinga

Scientific NameAnhinga anhinga
Type of AnimalBird
RangeFlorida

The anhinga is a truly remarkable bird, known for its incredible diving abilities. With its powerful wings and long, tapered tail, this waterbird can plunge into the water at high speeds to catch fish with great accuracy.

4. Auk

Scientific NameAlcidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Atlantic

The auk is a member of the Alcidae family, which also includes penguins and auks. This bird is native to the Northern Hemisphere and can be found in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. They are excellent swimmers and divers. Auk has flipper-like wings that help them swim underwater at speeds of up to 6.5 mph.

5. Black Guillemot

Scientific NameCepphus grylle
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth American

One of the most amazing birds that dive is the Black Guillemot, a small seabird found in northern waters. These birds are known for their incredible diving ability, which allows them to plunge up to 100 feet below the surface in search of their aquatic prey. They are also incredibly agile and can even climb rocks and cliffs using their powerful wings and webbed feet.

6. Black Skimmer

Scientific NameRynchops niger
Type of AnimalBird
RangeFlorida

The black skimmer is one of the most skilled diving birds, able to plunge into the water with incredible accuracy to catch its prey. This fascinating bird can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour as it plummets towards the surface, using specially adapted webbed feet and a unique ‘skimming’ technique to trap its prey.

Read Also: Do Black Skimmer Have Forked Tail?

7. Brown Booby

Scientific NameSula leucogaster
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAtlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

These birds are excellent divers and can plunge up to 30 feet in the air to catch their prey. Their diet consists of small fish, squid, and crustaceans.

8. Brown Pelican

Scientific NamePelecanus occidentalis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern and western sea coasts

The brown pelican is one of the most fascinating diving birds, thanks to its incredible skill and athleticism. These birds are capable of diving from great heights into the water at high speeds in order to capture their prey with stunning accuracy. And what’s even more amazing is that they can return to the surface and fly away with their meal, often with their catch still struggling in its beak.

9. Bufflehead

Scientific NameBucephala albeola
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAlaska and Canada

The bufflehead is a small duck that’s native to North America. It has earned the nickname “spoonbill” due to its large, flat bill. This type of duck is most known for its diving ability in both freshwater lakes and saltwater bays. The bufflehead can dive up to 25 feet below the surface, using its wings for steering and propulsion.

10. Cape Gannet

Scientific NameMorus capensis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAfrica

The Cape Gannet is a seabird that can be found along the coast of South Africa. These birds are expert divers, plunging from heights of up to 30 meters to catch fish.

What’s impressive about the Cape Gannet is its ability to accurately target its prey underwater.

11. Common Goldeneye

Scientific NameBucephala clangula
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada and Alaska

The Common Goldeneye is a medium-sized duck that can be found in wooded areas near water. It has a black head with a white crescent around the eye and a yellow bill. The male has a greenish sheen to its head while the female’s head is browner.

12. Common Loon

Scientific NameGavia immer
Type of AnimalBird
RangeGreenland, Iceland, and northern North America

The Common Loon is a large bird that can be found in North America. It’s known for its black and white plumage as well as its eerie call. The Common Loon is an excellent diver and can reach depths of up to 60 feet when hunting for fish.

Related Article: Do Common Loon Make Noise at Night?

13. Common Murre

Scientific NameUria aalge
Type of AnimalBird
RangePacific Coast from Alaska to California

The common murre is a seabird that can be found along the coasts of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. These birds dive into the water to catch fish that are near the surface. They use their webbed feet to propel themselves through the water and their long, sharp beaks to snag their prey.

14. Coot

Scientific NameFulica
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe northern United States and southern Canada

One of the most impressive birds that dive is the coot. This waterbird is known for its incredible agility and speed when hunting underwater. It uses a combination of powerful kicks with its webbed feet and rapid wing beats to propel itself through the water, allowing it to catch fish, frogs, and other aquatic prey with ease.

15. Diving Duck

Scientific NameAythyinae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada and Alaska

The diving duck is a large waterfowl species that are found in most parts of the world. These birds are known for their ability to dive deep into the water to catch fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. They can also eat aquatic plants and seeds.

16. Double-Crested Cormorant

Scientific NamePhalacrocorax auritus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAtlantic Ocean

These birds are expert divers that can plunge up to depths of 25 feet. They use their webbed feet and powerful legs to propel themselves through the water at high speeds. When they spot a fish, they open their mouths wide and scoop it up.

Related Article: Do Double-Crested Cormorant Have Eyebrows?

17. Emperor Penguin

Scientific NameAptenodytes forsteri
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctica

Emperor penguins are members of the Aptornithiformes family and are found in Antarctica. These penguins have a dark gray or black body with white hair-like feathers on their head, chin, and throat. The most distinctive feature of this species is its long beak that they use to capture small fish, squid, krill, and crustaceans.

Related Article: Does Emperor Penguins Have Two-Legs?

18. Grebe

Scientific NamePodicipedidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada through California

Grebes are a group of birds that are known for their impressive driving ability. They are able to plunge into the water at high speeds and catch their prey with remarkable accuracy. In addition to being agile swimmers, grebes are also capable of flying long distances quickly and efficiently. Due to their unique abilities, grebes have become one of the most well-known diving birds in the world.

19. Kingfisher

Scientific NameAlcedinidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAustralia, Asia, and Africa

One of the most impressive birds that are known for their driving skills is the kingfisher. This small, brightly-colored bird has a very long, pointed beak that it uses to spear its prey with incredible accuracy. It is able to dive into the water and catch fish with ease, using a combination of powerful flight and incredible coordination.

20. Little Grebe

Scientific NameTachybaptus ruficollis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross Europe, much of Asia down to New Guinea, and most of Africa

The Little Grebe is a small waterbird that can be found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. It’s an excellent diver and can stay underwater for up to 30 seconds. To catch its prey, the Little Grebe uses its feet to paddle furiously through the water.

21. Long-Tailed Duck

Scientific NameClangula hyemalis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeArctic tundra

The Long-Tailed Duck is a North American species that’s breeding grounds are in the Arctic. These birds are excellent swimmers and divers. They can dive up to 200 feet and remain underwater for up to a minute.

22. Mergini

Scientific NameMergini
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorthern Hemisphere

Mergini, also known as podicipediformes, are some of the most interesting birds that dive. This species of bird is found in temperate and polar regions all over the world.

One of the most fascinating things about these birds is their ability to use their wings to propel themselves through the water while they are diving for food. This gives them a great deal of speed and agility in the water, making it easier for them to catch their prey.

23. Northern Gannet

Scientific NameMorus bassanus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

One of the most impressive birds when it comes to diving is the Northern Gannet. This large seabird can be found in both North America and Europe, but they are more common in Canada.

24. Osprey

Scientific NamePandion haliaetus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The osprey, also known as the fish eagle, captures its prey by diving from a great height and snatching it out of the water. This incredible bird has been clocked flying at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Because they dive so quickly and with such accuracy, they are able to catch their food even in windy conditions.

25. Pacific Loon

Scientific NameGavia pacifica
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWestern Coast of the United States

The Pacific loon is a waterbird that is a member of the genus Gavia. They are excellent divers and can plunge into the water from great heights. When they are hunting for fish, they will often swim underwater for long periods of time.

26. Pelagic Cormorant

Scientific NamePhalacrocorax pelagicus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeKuril Islands

These Birds are experts at catching fish underwater. They have been known to dive as deep as 138 feet in search of a meal. To do this, they use their webbed feet to propel themselves through the water.

27. Pied-Billed Grebe

Scientific NamePodilymbus podiceps
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

One of the most impressive diving birds is the Pied-Billed Grebe. This medium-sized waterbird can dive up to 8 feet underwater in search of food. They use their powerful wings to propel themselves into the water and chase after fish, frogs, crustaceans, tadpoles, and other small aquatic creatures.

28. Pigeon Guillemot

Scientific NameCepphus columba
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth Pacific coastal waters

These birds are experts at catching fish underwater. They have been known to dive as deep as 148 feet in search of a meal. To do this, they use their wings to propel themselves through the water. Once they’re close enough to their target, they open their beaks and snatch the fish with their sharp teeth.

29. Puffin

Scientific NameFratercula
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The puffin is a truly remarkable bird, known for its impressive driving ability. Able to plunge into the water with stunning accuracy, these birds are able to catch their prey and return to the surface quickly and efficiently. 

30. Red-Throated Loon

Scientific NameGavia stellata
Type of AnimalBird
RangeArctic regions

The Red-Throated Loon is one of the most impressive birds when it comes to diving. It can remain underwater for up to a minute, and it has been known to dive down more than 200 feet to capture prey.

This bird tends to feed on small fish and other aquatic creatures like squid and crustaceans.

More Examples of Birds that Dive

  • Sea Eagle
  • Sternidae
  • Sulidae
  • Uria

Conclusion

Birds that dive are amazing creatures with some of the most impressive diving abilities in the animal kingdom. These birds use a variety of techniques to catch their prey, from plunging into the water at high speeds to scooping up food from the surface.

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