Long-tailed Duck

Clangula hyemalis (Linnaeus, 1758) LN LOTDU 2120
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Long-tailed Duck, Sarah Kelman

The Long-tailed Duck is a winter visitor to UK coastal waters, arriving from their arctic breeding grounds.

Almost all of the world’s breeding Long-tailed Ducks are found within the Arctic Circle and, as such, it is hardly surprising that the majority of those wintering in the UK do so in the north, around Shetland, Orkney and north-east Scotland. Smaller numbers are found further south along England's east coast, and a few individuals may be found on inland waters.

BirdTrack data indicate that Long-tailed Ducks begin arriving in UK waters during October and reach their peak in mid-November. It is estimated that around 14,000 birds spend the winter here.


Long-tailed Duck identification is usually straightforward.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Long-tailed Duck, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




In winter, Long-tailed Ducks tend to occur well offshore in deep waters, so the numbers detected from the shore may give a misleading impression of distribution and abundance. During Bird Atlas 2007–11

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


The small range expansion in winter has mostly been in marginal areas; elsewhere the population has declined.

Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK


Long-tailed Ducks are locally common winter visitors, mostly present from October to May.

Weekly occurence of Long-tailed Duck from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Long-tailed Duck ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Long-tailed Duck, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Lach-bhinn
Welsh: Hwyaden Gynffonhir
Catalan: ànec glacial
Czech: hoholka lední
Danish: Havlit
Dutch: IJseend
Estonian: aul
Finnish: alli
French: Harelde kakawi
German: Eisente
Hungarian: jegesréce
Icelandic: Hávella
Irish: Lacha Earrfhada
Italian: Moretta codona
Latvian: kakaulis
Lithuanian: ledine antis
Norwegian: Havelle
Polish: lodówka
Portuguese: pato-rabilongo
Slovak: ladovka dlhochvostá
Slovenian: zimska raca
Spanish: Pato havelda
Swedish: alfågel
Folkname: Ice Duck, Sea Pheasant

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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