Arctic Species: Long-tailed Duck

The last of the regular duck-species of Spitsbergen is the Long-tailed Duck. They don’t occur in large numbers, but most tundra ponds on the west coast to have a pair or two. The plumage in summer is relatively dull and brown and the males have an elongated tail. In winter their plumage is much more distinct, as it then turns into a contrasting black and white.

20180124_Arjen_Drost_61732.jpg
Male Long-tailed Duck in winter

Long-tailed Duck – Clangula hyemalis
Length: 39 – 47cm, wingspan: 65 – 82cm
Rather small brown and white duck, with elongated tail in males.

Long-tailed Ducks breed on the tundra, often in Arctic Tern colonies, who provide protection against predation by Arctic Foxes and Glaucous Gulls. Most Long-tailed Ducks winter in Northern Norway and in the Baltic.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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