A Rare Glimpse: The White Loon of Western Canada

You are currently viewing A Rare Glimpse: The White Loon of Western Canada

Canadian photographer Chris Whitty embarked on a remarkable journey spanning several years, driven by an unwavering passion for capturing elusive moments in the natural world. His quest? To reunite with a rare white loon—a bird that had long eluded his lens.

A loon with striking black and white plumage swims gracefully on the calm surface of a lake. Its red eyes and sharp beak are clearly visible, reflecting in the tranquil water. The background is blurred with hints of greenery, emphasizing the bird’s serene environment.

Three loons are swimming on a calm, greenish body of water. Two loons in the background have black and white plumage, while the loon in the foreground has predominantly white plumage. The background is blurred, drawing attention to the birds.

A loon is calmly floating on peaceful water. The bird has a sleek, smooth head with a pointed beak and striking red eyes. Its feathers display a mix of white and grey, providing a contrast against the water's surface.

The white loon, a striking avian anomaly, possesses a condition known as leucism. Unlike albinism, which results in a complete lack of pigmentation, leucism causes partial loss of color. In the case of this loon, its snowy plumage stands out dramatically against the dark-feathered backdrop of its companions.

A loon with a speckled gray and white feather pattern, dark head, and a sharp, black beak swims in calm water reflecting white specks of light.


Whitty’s photographic odyssey took him to remote lakes, marshes, and hidden corners of the Canadian wilderness. Armed with patience, determination, and an artist’s eye, he scoured the waterways, hoping for a glimpse of the elusive bird. Each sunrise brought renewed hope, and each sunset left him yearning for another chance encounter.

A loon with a striking black and white plumage spreads its wings while floating on calm water. The bird's head is turned slightly upward, and droplets of water can be seen around it, indicating recent movement. The background is softly blurred with natural colors.

Finally, on a misty morning, the white loon materialized—a vision of ethereal beauty. Whitty’s camera clicked, freezing the moment in time. The loon’s ivory feathers shimmered in the soft light, its crimson eyes reflecting the surrounding landscape. It was a triumph—a testament to persistence and reverence for nature.

A solitary loon with a light gray head and dark beak swims on calm water, its body partially submerged in the greenish reflection of its surroundings. The ripples gently distort the reflection, enhancing the serene scene.

Yet, as quickly as it appeared, the white loon vanished once more. Whitty’s heart swelled with gratitude for the fleeting connection. He knew that this encounter was more than a photograph; it was a conservation message. The white loon symbolized the delicate balance of our ecosystems—the need to protect habitats, preserve biodiversity, and cherish the rare and extraordinary.

A loon skimming across the surface of a calm lake with outstretched wings, creating splashes in the water. The background is blurred, highlighting the bird's motion and the serene environment.

Whitty’s lens may not have captured the loon again, but his commitment endures. He advocates for wetland conservation, urging others to appreciate the fragile wonders of our planet. And so, the white loon lives on—a beacon of hope, a reminder that persistence and passion can transform fleeting moments into timeless stories.

Four common loons are swimming in a calm water body. Three of the loons have black heads, white necks with black bands, and spotted black-and-white backs. The fourth loon is predominantly white with subtle gray tones. The background features blurred reeds.

In the quietude of nature, where ripples kiss the shore and winds whisper secrets, the white loon dances—a ghostly muse inspiring photographers, dreamers, and guardians of the wild. 📸🌿🦢

A white loon skims the surface of a calm body of water with its wings spread wide, creating small splashes as it moves along. The background features a blurred, natural shoreline.

A loon with a sleek grey and white feather pattern floats on calm water, creating a mirror-like reflection. The background is blurred in muted brown and green hues, emphasizing the bird's serene presence.


Two loons swim on a calm water surface. The loon in the foreground has a checkerboard black-and-white pattern with a white head and neck, while the background loon is more blurred, displaying typical black and white markings. The water reflects both birds.

A loon with a speckled gray and white body and a white face floats calmly on a reflective water surface. The bird's dark eyes and dark bill stand out against its light-colored head.

A loon spreads its wings while floating on a calm body of water. The background shows blurred reeds and foliage. The bird's white plumage and dark beak are highlighted against the serene water. Its wings are partially raised, showcasing intricate feather details.


Image credits: Photographs by Chris Whitty

Leave a Reply