Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
A scarce duck species found throughout most of the island group. Most numerous on west Spitsbergen and south-east Spitsbergen. Most often found by fresh water in summer. Occurs in large flocks in winter and until mid-May, when they leave the wintering localities on the west coast of Spitsbergen and spread out to the breeding sites. The population is probably about 1000 pairs.
Features: 39-47 cm, 680-900 gram. A hardy little duck. Differing appearance regarding sex, age and plumage through the year gives great variation. Dark wings without markings are a good distinguishing feature. Young birds in their first plumage resemble females.
Breeding: Most nest solitarily near to fresh water, but some also nest on islands in salt water. Often find protection by nesting next to an Arctic Tern colony. Often nest next to Common Eiders. Some nest among human habitations. The young grow up in both fresh and salt water. The eggs are laid in a hollow and lined with charcoal-grey down and plant material.