top of page
  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Long-Tailed Duck. Southwick Ship Canal. 25.11.21

Today I saw a female Long-Tailed Duck in Southwick Canal (Shoreham Harbour). I knew she was there as she has been seen by various SDOS (Shoreham and District Ornithological Society members - through our group email and our Facebook Group. This is the first time I have actually seen a bird reported on Bird Guides!

She swan quickly, and swam underwater after diving quite a long way.

The long-tailed duck is a small, neat sea duck. They have small round heads and steep foreheads. In winter, the male is mainly white with some brownish-black markings. He also has greatly elongated tails feathers - hence the name. Females are browner. When in flight, they show their all dark wings and white bellies.

They do not breed in the UK, but protection of their wintering sites is important, because they are vulnerable to oil pollution at sea. They are a winter visitor and passage migrant to the UK, most commonly from Northumberland to northern Scotland. Long-tailed ducks are listed as a Schedule 1 species under The Wildlife and Countryside Act. Long Tailed Duck Facts | Clangula Hyemalis - The RSPB

Diving duck that favors saltwater in winter and Arctic tundra pools in summer. Males are distinctive with black, white, gray, and brown patterns and long pointed tail. Male plumage changes dramatically from winter to summer. Females and immature males are brownish overall with whiter face and large dark cheek patch. Dives frequently to feed mainly on invertebrates. Long-tailed Duck - eBird

eBird Species Sightings Map eBird for 2021 Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) - Species Map - eBird

This species has been listed as Vulnerable because of an apparent severe decline detected in the wintering population in the Baltic Sea between the early 1990s and late 2000s. This rate of decline implies that the global population will undergo at least a ≥30 decline over three generations (1993-2020), even when factoring-in uncertainty regarding the sizes and trends of other populations. Improved knowledge regarding populations outside the Baltic Sea might lead to the species being uplisted to Endangered if the overall rate of decline can be confidently shown to be very rapid. Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) - BirdLife species factsheet

Food: On saltwater wintering grounds, locally common epibenthic crustaceans, especially amphipods, mysids, and isopod; bivalves, gastropods, fish, and fish eggs

Strong swimmer, 10 m/min when foraging. Strong and deep diver. Diving preceded by a small jump. Partially extends wings and spreads tail before diving; maintains head and neck outstretched while diving. Flaps partially folded wings for propulsion; does not use feet for propulsion, unlike other sea ducks.



bottom of page