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Merlin Bird ID

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    Long-tailed Duck Life History


    Habitat Lakes and PondsBreeds in ponds, streams, and other arctic wetlands. Winters on open ocean or on large freshwater lakes.Back to top


    Food Aquatic invertebratesMostly aquatic invertebrates, including insects and crustaceans. Also some bivalves, fish, fish eggs, and plant matter.Back to top


    Nest Placement

    Nest Ground

    Nest Description

    Shallow scrape in the ground, lined with willow and birch leaves and then with down. Placed at the water's edge, often on islands or peninsulas, close to other Long-tailed Duck nests.

    Nesting Facts
    Clutch Size:5-10 eggs
    Egg Description:Pale gray to olive.
    Condition at Hatching:Downy and eyes open. Leave nest soon after they dry. Feed themselves immediately.
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    Behavior Surface DiveDives for prey on or near bottom.Back to top


    Conservation Common Bird in Steep DeclineThere is little information on Long-tailed Duck population trends; numbers are difficult to census because of the species' offshore wintering areas. Long-tailed Duck rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and is on the 2014 State of the Birds Report as a Common Bird in Steep Decline. These ducks are not widely hunted. Entanglement in fishing nets killed tens of thousands of Long-tailed Ducks in the 1950s, especially in the Great Lakes; recent statistics and trends on by-catch of Long-tailed Duck have not been compiled.Back to top


    Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

    North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

    Robertson, Gregory J. and Jean-Pierre L. Savard. 2002. Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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