The Long-tailed Duck is a strikingly beautiful sea duck that is known for its long, slender tail feathers. Also known as the Oldsquaw, this bird is widely distributed across the northern regions of the world.
The Long-tailed Duck is a medium-sized duck that measures between 40-50cm in length and has a wingspan of around 60-70cm. The males have a distinctive breeding plumage, with a black head, chest, and back, a white belly, and a pinkish-red breast. The most striking feature of the male Long-tailed Duck is its long, pointed tail feathers, which can reach lengths of up to 20cm. In non-breeding plumage, the males have a more subdued brown and grey colouration, while the females are mostly brown with a greyish-brown head and white cheeks.
These ducks are typically found in marine environments, preferring shallow coastal waters and estuaries. They float low in the water, often with their tails pointed straight up, and feed on small fish, crustaceans, and molluscs. They are also known to dive underwater to forage for food, and can stay submerged for up to a minute.
Long-tailed Ducks are highly migratory, and can be found in different parts of the world depending on the season. They breed in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Scandinavia, and then migrate to wintering grounds along the coasts of Europe, Asia, and North America.
While the Long-tailed Duck is not currently considered endangered, it is facing threats from climate change and habitat destruction. As sea ice continues to melt in the Arctic, the habitat and food sources of these birds are becoming increasingly scarce, which could impact their populations in the long term.
In conclusion, the Long-tailed Duck is a fascinating bird that has adapted to the harsh northern environments of the world. With its beautiful plumage and unique tail feathers, it is a species that is worth observing and appreciating. However, to ensure the long-term survival of this species, we must take steps to protect the habitats that they depend on.