CLOSED: ID all-black duck that swims completely underwater (IL)

Vernon Hills, IL

We have a lake near us in Vernon Hills IL. Northern IL. There are very few of these birds that seem to travel alone and stay near the middle of the lake where my camera cannot get a good shot of them. They are all black (even a black bill) and have a large wingspan when they fly. They land and take off from the water. They also dive underwater from the surface and swim for 20-60 feet before emerging somewhere else. I've looked under the dabbling and diving duck families and cannot seem to find out what this is. Sorry about the blurry pic! I could swear this duck is even blurry if I were to ever see it up close! :)

ps: I realize this may be the worst picture ever to possibly id the bird.

This message was edited Aug 1, 2009 10:05 AM

This message was edited Aug 1, 2009 10:18 AM

Thumbnail by seaver
Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

probably a American Coot

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

American Coot has a white bill

Maybe a cormorant . . . though they have orange-based bills

What sort of size / shape was it?

Resin

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

It sounds like a Loon

Vernon Hills, IL

It's body is about the size of a standard mallard duck but it seems to have the wingspan of a goose. It also has a goose-like neck only thinner.

Neck is somewhat like a cormorant... see below.

This message was edited Aug 1, 2009 7:04 PM

Vernon Hills, IL

Here's a small collage. I tried to enlarge the images but it is difficult with a 4 megapixel camera.

Thumbnail by seaver
North Augusta, ON

I would say it is a Loon too.

Vernon Hills, IL

We thought it could be a loon at first too but we never hear any loon calls. Plus the loons i've looked up are multi-colored. I'm stumped.

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

oops miss the black bill part
looking at last pic I say loon too

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Definitely a cormorant in the collage pic; in IL by far most likely a Double-crested Cormorant. The neck os too long and thin for a loon, they have very thick necks.

Resin

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I've seen a double-crested cormorant on a pond in Buffalo Grove , IL, which is not too far from Vernon Hills. My guess would be a cormorant.

(Zone 1)

My first thought before even looking at the photo was I wondered if y'all had Cormorant's or Aningha's in your area of the country? http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=images+of+cormorants&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=ZAd2SuGCG5mBtwfNrcyWCQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1

From your collage photo I say definitely Cormorant.

(Zone 1)

Scroll down to the bottom of this page: http://www.blog.birdsillinois.com/2006_05_01_archive.html

Double Crested Cormorant in Illinois: http://www.blog.birdsillinois.com/2006_05_01_archive.html

Vernon Hills, IL

Thanks everyone!

I think I will go with the cormorant. The only thing that threw me off was that it appears to have a black bill and all the bills i've seen online are yellow and i've never seen them on the shore. But there are only a few I see on the lake so it could just be a local family trait. Also the behavior traits that wikipedia lists for the cormorant match pretty much exactly. I've seen egrets and blue herons in the area so I was trying to find something in their family type but I was way off.

Thanks again!

(Zone 1)

We see Cormorants in the waterways here in Florida all the time, diving for fish ... and sometimes see them on pilings or in trees with wings spread, drying out!

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