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Identify Long-tailed Duck with these tips

Tips to identify Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck, winter male. March in Ocean County, New Jersey. Photo by Brian E. Small

Cold northern waters around the globe are home to one of the most distinctive of all waterfowl, the Long-tailed Duck. This beautiful diver breeds on Arctic tundra across North America, Europe, and Asia, and it winters along coastlines and on some of the largest lakes.

In North America, the breeding range takes in most of Alaska and much of northern Canada, including the islands of the Canadian High Arctic. Winter finds the Long-tailed Duck mostly in coastal waters from the southern Bering Sea and the Aleutians south to Washington and from eastern Canada south to the Mid-Atlantic states. Large numbers also spend the season on Lake Ontario and elsewhere on northern parts of the Great Lakes.

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Kenn Kaufman

Kenn Kaufman

Kenn Kaufman is an expert birder and naturalist, a talented artist and photographer, a world traveler, and the author of many books about birds and other wildlife. His column “ID Tips” appears in every issue of BirdWatching. Kenn is also a field editor for Audubon Magazine and a contributor to Birds and Blooms. His work first appeared in Birder’s World (now BirdWatching) in April 1988. Visit his website, Kaufman Field Guides.

Kenn Kaufman on social media

Brian E. Small

Brian E. Small

Brian Small is a Los Angeles-based bird and nature photographer whose photos appear in the “ID Tips” column in every issue of BirdWatching. His work has been published in Time, The New York Times, Audubon, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, and many other publications. His photos also illustrate many field guides, including Kenn Kaufman’s Birds of North America, a series of state bird identification guides published with the American Birding Association, and his own Eastern and Western photographic field guides to the birds of North America published in 2009 with author Paul Sterry and Princeton University Press.

Brian E. Small on social media