Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

This species is a superb diver, occasionally attaining depths of 60 m, and remaining submerged for up to 1 minute and a half! Unfortunately, long-tailed duck tend to get caught in fishing nets.


The male long-tailed duck reaches a length of up to 53 cm, including his elongate tail, while the female reaches 40 cm. The winter plumage of the male has a white head and neck with a buff face. Its bill is dark with a pink band, its breast and tail are black, and its back and flanks are white. In winter, the female has a white head with grey patches on its crown and cheek, a grey bill, a mottled neck and back, and white breast, belly, and flanks. In breeding plumage, both the male and female have the same patterns as their winter plumage, but are darker in colour.


The long-tailed duck breeds in the Arctic, and, in isolated populations, on the northwest Pacific coast of Canada. In winter, it migrates to the northeast and northwest coasts of North America, and to the Great Lakes.


Long-tailed duck nests are small, cup-like hollows that are scattered over the tundra found near the shores of small ponds, along the seashore, or on little islands. The nests are usually well concealed in the thick grass or under small bushes. Egg clusters of 5 to 7 are laid, that are oval and olive in colour.

The long-tailed duck feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates, such as mollusks, crustaceans, and insects. It also occasionally eats small fish and aquatic vegetation. The long-tailed duck feeds by diving, and plucking food items from the bottom and from the water column.