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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Long-tailed Duck

Hebrides bird sightings - Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck (summer male)

(Hound Duck, Col-candle Wick, Col-candle Week, Callo. Obselete: Old Injun, Oldsquaw, Old Wife)

Clangula hymenali

Gaelic: Eun-binn, Lach-bhinn

Photography © Kim Park
Uig - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
18th April, 2006

Our Long-tailed Duck photographs :

Long-tailed Duck Male
Long-tailed Duck Male
Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck Female
Long-tailed Duck Female Flight
Long-tailed Duck
winter/spring male
late October
Long-tailed Duck
winter/spring male
late January
Long-tailed Duck
summer male
late April
Long-tailed Duck
winter female
late January
Long-tailed Duck
winter female
late february


  • Long-tailed Duck (Hound Duck, Col-candle Wick, Col-candle Week, Callo. Obselete: Old Injun, Oldsquaw, Old Wife)
  • Clangula hyemalis
  • Gaelic: Eun-binn, Lach-bhinn
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 16,000 pairs winter BTO
  • UK: Scarce Breeder, Winter Visitor, Passage Migrant (See from sea watching points)
  • WI: Fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers)
  • Breeding: Tundra pools, marshes, sea coasts, large mountain lakes. Nest is made from vegetation, lined with down & on ground near water. North Atlantic, Alaska, N Canada, N Europe, Russia, N America
  • Winters: Main area Baltic Sea, where 4.5 million gather. South of breeding range to coasts of N America, N Europe, Asia & Black Sea & the Great Lakes. (On migration - gregarious & forms large flocks on open lakes, coasts).
  • Diet: Usually feed near surface, but also dive depths of 60m (200 feet). Aquatic insects, crustaceans, molluscs, clams, crabs, small fish.
  • Small neat sea duck. Small round heads. Steep foreheads. Adults white below. Rest of plumage does complex changes with moulting.
  • Male long pointed tail (10 - 15 cm) and a dark grey bill crossed by a pink band. Winter male mostly white - some brownish-black markings. Dark cheek patch mostly white head & neck. Dark breast. Summer male dark head, neck, back. White cheek patch.
  • Females browner. Shorter pointed tail. Winter female head & neck white with dark crown. Summer female head mostly dark. White cheek patch.
  • Juveniles similar to autumn adult females (with a less noticeable cheek patch).
  • In flight all show all dark wings and white bellies.
  • Max recorded age 22yrs 8mths
  • Listen to a Long-tailed Duck (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Similar birds: Common Eider, Northern Eider (very rare)


On migration Long-tailed Ducks are gregarious and form large flocks on coasts and lakes (Broadbay is a site where 300+ birds can be often be found wintering), this makes the species very vulnerable to oil pollution, that and is why the birds have Amber List status in order to protect their wintering sites


Long-tailed Duck records in the Western Isles

Fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Long-tailed Duck is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Male or female ducks and Collective Nouns

Some people use the word duck only for an adult female and drake for an adult male whilst others say hen and drake.

Waterfowl collective nouns (From WIKI):
waterfowl (on water) A raft
waterfowl A bunch of waterfowl
waterfowl (less than 30) A knob
ducks, swimming A paddling of ducks
waterfowl A plump
ducks, idle in water A raft of ducks
ducks, diving A dopping of ducks
ducks, on ground A badelynge of ducks
ducks, flying A flight, plump, or team of ducks
ducks A brace, bunch, flock, skein, sord, string, brace, flush




Visit Kim's web site of her photography of the Western Isles

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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