Federal Duck Stamp Entry 2008-2009

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Size - 7"x10"

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Long Tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

The Long-tailed Duck, which was at one time called an “Oldsquaw”, though this name has fallen out of favor due to the negative interpretations and connotations of the word “squaw” in English language. Of all diving ducks, it spends the most time under water relative to time on the surface. When it is foraging it is submerged three to four times as much as it is on top of the water. When diving and swimming they propel themselves with their feet like other ducks, although their wings are sometimes partly opened under water. Most feeding is done within 30 feet of the surface, but they are capable of diving more than 200 feet below the surface generally feeding on mollusks, crustaceans and some small fish

Adults have white under parts, though the rest of the plumage goes through a complex molting process. The male has a long pointed tail 6” – 8” 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. They’re quite gregarious, forming large flocks in winter and during migration.

I depicted this pair of long tails, in their breeding plumage. When they’re in their molting, or eclipse plumage they are considerably more drab, only having their long tales as easy indicators of their species.

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