Diver (colymbus, Linn.), a bird of the order natatores and family colymbidoe, the latter containing the divers and the grebes. The bill in this genus is long, strong, straight, curved slightly at the tip, which is sharp, with compressed sides; the nostrils are in a membranous groove; the wings are moderate and pointed, the first and second quills the longest; the tail is very short and rounded; the tarsi rather short, compressed, and covered with reticulated scales; the toes long, the three anterior united by an entire web, and the inner side of the internal toe margined with membrane; the hind toe short, with a small membranous margin; the claws moderate, depressed, and broad. Only three species are well ascertained, the C. glacialis, C. arcticus, and C. septentri-onalis (Linn.), which belong to the arctic circle, migrating to the northern temperate regions of America and Europe. The great northern diver, generally called loon in the United States (0. glacialis), is a large, powerful, and handsome bird; the largest males measure about 3 ft. to the end of the tail, with an extent of wings of nearly 5 ft., and a weight of from 8 to 10 lbs. The head is moderate, narrowed in front; the neck thick and long; the body elongated and depressed; the feet very far back; the plumage short and dense.
The bill is black, iris deep bright red, feet grayish blue, with the webs brownish black; the head and neck are dark greenish blue, with purple reflections; on the throat there is a transverse white patch, with longitudinal dusky streaks; in the middle of the neck are two white patches, continuous behind, but separated an inch in front; the sides of the neck at the lower part are streaked longitudinally black and white, there being on each feather two oblong spots of the latter hue; the upper parts are glossy black, with spots of white in regular transverse curved lines with the convexity backward, the spots being rounded and small toward the neck, sides, and tail coverts, larger and quadrangular on the middle of the back, largest on the scapulars; the lower parts are white, except on the sides under the wings, which are black with elliptical white spots, a faint dusky band across the vent, and the lower tail coverts, which are blackish, tipped with white; the tail is brownish black, with a paler tip. The female resembles the male in colors, but is smaller. The young in winter are dark grayish brown above, white underneath, with the sides dusky; toward spring the white spots begin to appear, and the plumage is that of the adult at the end of summer; they go further south than the adults.
The flight is rapid, long sustained, and at a considerable elevation. The gait of the bird on land is generally slow and awkward; on the water, when at ease, it swims lightly, but when alarmed it sinks the body so deeply that not more than inch of its back can be seen. As a diver it is unsurpassed except by the darter and the auk, disappearing quickly, flying rapidly beneath the surface, remaining under water a long time, and coming up again at a great distance from the spot of its disappearance. Loons are occasionally found drowned in fishermen's nets, and are sometimes caught on hooks. The curiosity of the loon is often taken advantage of to draw them within shot, as the bird will almost always approach any bright-colored object waved by a concealed gunner; hence the phrase "stupid as a loon." Its notes are so loud and plaintive that to be " as noisy as a loon " has become a proverb. Its food consists of fish, lizards, frogs, aquatic insects, and the roots of fresh-water plants; it fishes in both salt and fresh water, and usually swallows its food beneath the surface. The flesh is tough and rank.
The loon breeds in various parts of the United States from Maine to Maryland, according to Audubon; and Dr. Richardson says it is found breeding as far N. as 70°. The nest is built near the water, in marshes, on the ground, and of rushes and grasses growing in the vicinity. The eggs are generally three, about 3 3/4 in. long by 2 1/4 broad, elongated, with a narrow point; their color is dull greenish ochry, with indistinct spots of dark umber, most numerous toward the larger end. The loon is found also in Europe and northern Asia. - The black-throated diver (G. arcticus), next in size to the loon, is 29 in. long to the end of tail, with an extent of wings of about 40 in. The upper parts are glossy black, with a greenish tinge anteriorly and brownish behind, the head and hind neck being hoary; on the fore part of the back are two longitudinal bands of white bars, the feathers tipped with white; the scapulars and wing coverts with white spots; the quills are blackish brown, with a gray tinge externally; on the front of the neck for about six inches is a purplish black patch, ending angularly below, with a band of white spots above; the sides of the neck are blackish brown, with longitudinal white streaks; the lower parts are pure white, except a dusky band under the wings.
The female is smaller than the male, but similarly colored. This species breeds in the far north, where the old birds principally remain, and whence the young wander over North America and northern and eastern Europe. Birds in full plumage are rarely obtained in the United States, and, according to Audubon, never further south than Delaware; along the eastern shores they are seen from autumn until spring. Their flight is rapid and well sustained, and performed with the neck and feet stretched out at full length. - The red-throated diver (C. septentrionalis) is about 26 in. long, with an extent of wing of 43 in., and a weight of 4 lbs. It resembles the preceding species except in the rich brownish red color of the anterior neck, and the lines of black and white on the hind head and neck; in the young males the fore neck is merely dotted with red. They begin to fly north to breed from early spring to the middle of May; they are found on the coast from Maryland to Maine, from autumn to spring; the younger the birds, the further south they go, and it is rare to find an old one south of Boston; they abound in the bay of Fundy. They are very shy, and always approach their nests from the water. Both sexes incubate. The full beauty of the plumage is not attained until the fourth year.
They are rarely seen inland, and hardly ever out of the breeding season. Along the New England coast and in the bay of Fundy they are commonly called "cape racer" and "scapegrace." DIVI, or Divi-Divi, the pod of a leguminous shrub, Coesalpinia coriaria, a native of the northern parts of South America and the West India islands, used for tanning, for which purpose it is exported to Europe and other countries. The plant grows to the height of 20 or 30 ft., and the pods, which are dark brown and curl up in drying, attain a length of 3 in. The rind has a strongly astringent and bitter taste from the tannin contained between the outer layer and the husk that encloses the seed. The leather prepared with it is very porous and acquires a deep brownish red color. Almost the only ports of shipment are Maracaibo, Rio Hacha, and Savanilla.
1. The Great Northern Diver (Colymbus glacialis). 2. The Red-throated Diver (C. septentrionalis).