Long-tailed Duck: Small diving duck, black upperparts, head, neck, breast, wings; back is black and brown mottled; white flanks, belly, undertail coverts. Black tail has long, pintail-like central feathers that are often submerged when swimming. Pale gray mask, black bill with dark pink saddle.
Range and Habitat
Long-tailed Duck: Breeds from Alaska east across most of northern Canada. Winters along the Pacific coast from the Bering Sea south to California; from Greenland, eastern North America, and Labrador south, including the Great Lakes, to South Carolina. Prefers a variety of coastal waters; straits, bays, harbors, channels, fiords, estuaries, offshore waters, and mudflats.
The Long-tailed Duck was formerly called Oldsquaw, though this name has fallen out of favour under influence of negative connotations of the word squaw in English usage.
It has the most complex molt of any species of waterfowl with three different plumages during the year, achieved in a complex series of overlapping partial molts.
Of all diving ducks, it 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. They are capable of diving to depths of 200 feet.
A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.