Long-tailed Duck

Basic Description

The long-tailed duck, also known as the Oldsquaw, is a small to medium-sized sea duck that breeds in the Arctic tundra. This elegant bird measures between 19-24 inches in length and has a wingspan of approximately 26-30 inches. The breeding male’s striking plumage includes a black head with chestnut sides and white patches above and below the eyes, while the female is more muted, with gray-brown feathers on her back and an overall pale appearance.

Where To Find This Bird

The long-tailed duck can be found throughout much of northern Europe, Asia, North America’s coasts from Alaska to Newfoundland. During winter months, they migrate southward along both coastal oceans of North America down into Eurasia.


Long-tailed ducks prefer to breed on isolated islands or shorelines populated by low vegetation amid freshwater lakes that are free from predators but close enough for feeding access. In winter months however they are often seen in larger flocks inhabiting open water areas such as bays, harbors or estuaries depending on their location.


This species feeds on crustaceans such as shrimp during breeding season then shifts to mollusks like clams after migration so their diet varies based upon their particular location within its range.

Cool Facts

– Long-tailed Ducks have one of the longest migrations routes among all birds traveling over 9k miles each year.
– They have been recorded diving up to depths exceeding 200 feet deep
– Adult males undergo an incredible transformation where they shed their brightly colored feathers post-breeding season before returning back-and-forth between drab brownish-grey non-breeding plumages consisting mainly dull grey tones mixed white spots

In conclusion; these fascinating ducks have a distinctive presence with their unique features and stand out from other sea ducks. They can be found in various parts of the world during different seasons while adapting to changes such as food sources and habitat based on location. With a long migration record, their journeys are impressive as they travel such great distances each year. The Long-tailed duck is indeed an amazing creature worth learning more about!