Long-tailed duck

The long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), formerly known as oldsquaw, is a medium-sized sea duck that breeds in the tundra and taiga regions of the arctic and winters along the northern coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is the only member of its genus Clangula.

Long-tailed duck
Long-tailed-duck.jpg
Clangula-hyemalis-011.jpg
Male above, female below
Call, Long Island, New York
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Clangula
Leach, 1819
Species:
C. hyemalis
Binomial name
Clangula hyemalis
Clangula hyemalis map.svg
Synonyms
  • Anas hyemalis Linnaeus, 1758
  • Anas glacialis Linnaeus, 1766
  • Harelda hyemalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

TaxonomyEdit

The long-tailed duck was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He placed it with all the other ducks in the genus Anas and coined the binomial name Anas hyemalis.[2] Linnaeus cited the English naturalist George Edwards's description and illustration of the "Long-tailed duck from Hudson's-Bay" that had been published in 1750 in the third volume of his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds.[3] This duck is now the only species placed in the genus Clangula that was introduced in 1819 to accommodate the long-tailed duck by the English zoologist William Leach in an appendix to John Ross's account of his voyage to look for the Northwest Passage.[4][5][6] The genus name Clangula is a diminutive of the Latin clangere meaning "to resound". The specific epithet hyemalis is Latin meaning "of winter".[7] The species is considered to be monotypic: no subspecies are recognised.[6]

In North American English it is sometimes called oldsquaw, though this name has fallen out of favour. Some biologists have also feared that this name would be offensive to some Native American tribes involved in the conservation effort.[8] The American Ornithologists' Union stated that "political correctness" was not sufficient to change the name, but "to conform with English usage in other parts of the world", it officially adopted the name "Long-tailed Duck".[9]

An undescribed congener is known from the Middle Miocene Sajóvölgyi Formation (Late Badenian, 13–12 Mya) of Mátraszőlős, Hungary.[10]

DescriptionEdit

 
In flight

Adults have white underparts, though the rest of the plumage goes through a complex moulting process. The male has a long pointed tail (10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) long) and a dark grey bill crossed by a pink band. In winter, the male has a dark cheek patch on a mainly white head and neck, a dark breast and mostly white body. In summer, the male is dark on the head, neck and back with a white cheek patch. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail. In winter, the female's head and neck are white with a dark crown. In summer, the head is dark. Juveniles resemble adult females in autumn plumage, though with a lighter, less distinct cheek patch.

Standard Measurements[11][12]
length 440–600 mm (17.5–23.5 in)
weight 740 g (1.63 lb)
wingspan 710 mm (28 in)
wing 209–228 mm (8.2–9.0 in)
tail 165–237 mm (6.5–9.3 in)
culmen 26–30 mm (1.0–1.2 in)
tarsus 34–38 mm (1.3–1.5 in)

The males are vocal and have a musical yodelling call ow, ow, owal-ow.

BehaviourEdit

 
Mother and six ducklings in Iceland

BreedingEdit

Their breeding habitat is in tundra pools and marshes, but also along sea coasts and in large mountain lakes in the North Atlantic region, Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe, and Russia. The nest is located on the ground near water; it is built using vegetation and lined with down. They are migratory and winter along the eastern and western coasts of North America, on the Great Lakes, coastal northern Europe and Asia, with stragglers to the Black Sea. The most important wintering area is the Baltic Sea, where a total of about 4.5 million gather.

Food and feedingEdit

The long-tailed duck is gregarious, forming large flocks in winter and during migration. They feed by diving for mollusks, crustaceans and some small fish. Although they usually feed close to the surface, they are capable of diving to depths of 60 m (200 ft). According to the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds they can dive to 80 fathoms (146 meters or 480 feet). They are the only ducks that use their wings to dive, which gives them the ability to dive much deeper than other ducks.

StatusEdit

The long-tailed duck is still hunted across a large part of its range. There has been a significant decline in the number of birds wintering in the Baltic Sea, partly due to their susceptibility to being trapped in gillnets. For these reasons the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorised the long-tailed duck as "Near-threatened".[1] It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2018). "Clangula hyemalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22680427A132528200. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22680427A132528200.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 126.
  3. ^ Edwards, George (1750). A Natural History of Uncommon Birds. Vol. Part III. London: Printed for the author at the College of Physicians. p. 156 Plates 156.
  4. ^ Leach, William Elford (1819). Ross, John (ed.). A Voyage of Discovery made under the orders of the Admiralty in her Majesty's ships Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of exploring Baffin's Bay, and enquiring into the probability of a North-West passage. London: John Murray. Appendix II, p. 48.
  5. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1979). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 492.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Screamers, ducks, geese & swans". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  7. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 110, 197. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  8. ^ Though squaw originated as a word simply meaning "young woman" in the Massachusett and related Algonquian languages, it is now considered offensive by many Native Americans and is so labelled in modern dictionaries.[citation needed]
  9. ^ American Ornithologists' Union (2000). "Forty-second supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds". The Auk. 117 (3): 847–858. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2000)117[0847:fsstta]2.0.co;2.
  10. ^ Gál, Erika; Hír, János; Kessler, Eugén; Kókay, József (1998–1999). "Középsõ-miocén õsmaradványok, a Mátraszõlõs, Rákóczi-kápolna alatti útbevágásból. I. A Mátraszõlõs 1. lelõhely" [Middle Miocene fossils from the sections at the Rákóczi chapel at Mátraszőlős. Locality Mátraszõlõs I.] (PDF). Folia Historico Naturalia Musei Matraensis (in Hungarian). 23: 33–78. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  11. ^ Godfrey, W. Earl (1966). The Birds of Canada. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. p. 72.
  12. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 97. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
  13. ^ "Species". Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). Retrieved 14 November 2021.

External linksEdit