The Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) is a medium-sized sea duck that is easily recognizable due to its distinctive appearance. This bird is about 16 inches in length and has a wingspan of approximately 25 inches. The males are slightly larger than the females and can weigh up to 1.6 pounds, while females usually weigh around 1.3 pounds.
The Long-tailed Duck has a unique appearance that makes it easily identifiable. It has a white face and neck, a black back, and a grayish body. Its most distinguishing feature is its long tail, which is longer in males than in females. The males’ tails can be up to 9 inches long, while the females’ tails are usually around 5 inches long. During breeding season, the male’s head turns black and its sides become white.
The Long-tailed Duck is a circumpolar species that breeds in the Arctic tundra of North America, Europe, and Asia. During the winter, it migrates to coastal areas of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, including the coasts of the United States, Canada, and Japan. In the United States, this bird is primarily found along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Virginia and along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California.
During migration, the Long-tailed Duck can form large flocks and is often seen flying in long, V-shaped formations. These birds are strong fliers and can cover large distances in a relatively short amount of time. They are also skilled divers and can dive to depths of up to 200 feet to feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
Overall, the Long-tailed Duck is a fascinating species with a unique appearance and impressive abilities. Its long tail, black and white coloring, and migratory habits make it a favorite among birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. However, this bird faces threats from habitat loss, pollution, and hunting, so conservation efforts are necessary to ensure its continued survival.