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threatened and/or endangered

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis


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Long-tailed Duck, male
credit: Wolfgang Wander/CCSA

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Alternate name: Oldsquaw

Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE In winter and spring looks mainly black, gray, and white, with buffy patch around eye and pink band on bill. In summer and in eclipse, has mainly brown and black plumage, with white on belly and flanks and pale buff patch around eye. ADULT FEMALE In winter has mainly brown and white plumage; face is white except for dark cheek patch and crown. In summer, similar, but face is mainly brown, with pale patch around eye. JUVENILE Similar to adult female in summer, but more brown overall.

Dimensions Length: Male, 19-22" (48-56 cm); female, 15-17" (38-43 cm)

Habitat Common, but declining. Found on tundra marshes and pools during breeding season. At other times, mainly coastal but also on Great Lakes.

Observation Tips Elevated vantage points overlooking sandy bays often provide best chances of seeing species well, other than in flight.

Range California, Great Lakes, Southwest, Texas, Western Canada, New England, Plains, Florida, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Southeast, Rocky Mountains

Voice Male utters characteristic nasal ow-owlee.

Discussion Attractive diving duck associated with open seas in winter and in its element even among tempestuous waves. Dives frequently, in search of bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Gregarious outside breeding season. In flight, note dark wings and mainly white underparts. Sexes are dissimilar and plumage of both varies considerably throughout year. Only male sports a long tail.