Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw)
When peacefully gliding along the waters, this duck is a very beautiful creature! Formally known as 'Oldsquaw', this medium-sized duck has colors ranging from white to light brown to dark brown to black throughout. The duck tends to have a black head, chest and wings with a gray face patch around the eyes. With dull yellow-brown eyes and white bellies, these ducks are seemingly well coordinated in color. One of its most notable characteristics however, is its tail. It is long, black and slender with a white under-part.
This Long-Tailed Duck, scientifically called Clangula Hyemalis, typically has a black colored beak that has a pink band extending around it. Measuring 15 to 23 inches in length and having a wingspan of 28 inches, this duck spends most of its time in water, occasionally flying a little or diving for food. The males and females of these species also tend to undergo some changes in color depending on the season.
As is typical of ducks, they are often found in and around various water bodies. Streams, ponds and freshwater lakes are a few of their favored habitats. Often found in the Northern Atlantic region, Alaska or Northern Europe, the preferred breeding habitats of these ducks are tundra pools and marshes.
Since they are on water most of the time, these ducks eat mainly seafood. This ranges from small fish to mollusks and crustaceans. They spend most of their time feasting on aquatic invertebrates but will also eat plant matter, fish eggs and insects regularly.
This duck, though sometimes able to find food on the surface of water bodies, often has to dive for food. These ducks have the capability to dive to about 200 feet. They are not a very sociable species and so spends most of its time alone, drifting along the water. They will however, tend to form large flocks in winter and during the migration process.
These ducks tend to nest on the ground near to a water source. Typically a female produces 5 to 11 Olive-colored eggs. Nests are often formed in a hollow of grass or in low vegetation or among rocks. The incubation period typically lasts 23 to 25 days and is carried out entirely by the female. The young tend to leave the nest soon after they become dry and they are capable of feeding themselves almost immediately.
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