Living Bird Magazine
Long-tailed DuckClangula hyemalis
- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
Formerly known as Oldsquaw, the Long-tailed Duck breeds in the Arctic and winters along both coasts of North America. It is distinctive among ducks in plumage, molt sequences, foraging behavior, and vocalizations.More ID Info
- Pato Havelda (Spanish)
- Harelde kakawi (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Long-tailed Duck is one of the deepest diving ducks, and can dive as deep as 60 meters (200 feet) to forage.
- Of all diving ducks, the Long-tailed Duck spends the most time under water relative to time on the surface. When it is foraging it is submerged three to four times as much as it is on top of the water.
- Unlike most ducks, which molt twice per year, the Long-tailed Duck has three distinct plumages each year, achieved in a complex series of overlapping partial molts. The Definitive Basic Plumage is never worn in its entirety, as portions of Alternate are retained through the summer and elements of the Supplemental are acquired before all of Basic Plumage is obtained. Therefore change in plumage seems continuous from April to October.
- Unlike other waterfowl, the Long-tailed Duck wears its "breeding" or Alternate Plumage only in the winter. It gets its "nonbreeding" or Basic Plumage in the spring and wears it for the breeding season. Most other ducks wear the nonbreeding plumage only for a short period in the late summer.
- The oldest recorded Long-tailed Duck was a female, and at least 17 years, 1 month old when she was found in Alaska, the same state where she had been banded.