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Oldsquaw

Clangula hyemalis

Diving Ducks Family

Waterfowl Identification

 
Male Oldsquaw
male
Female Oldsquaw
female
Similar Waterfowl:
None
Description:
The male oldsquaw has dark chestnut eyes and neckpatch. They have two long tail feathers, a white body with a dark chest and dark wings. The females have a white head with a dark cheek patch. They have a white underside with dark wings. Both sexes have gray feet.
Typical Size:
The male averages 21 inches and the female averages 16 inches. Their weights average about 1 ½ lbs. They have a wingspan of 28 inches.
Habitat:
Ocean, large lakes; in summer, tundra pools and lakes. For breeding season favors both low-lying tundra and hilly areas, barren ground and edges of northern forest, as long as open water is nearby. At other seasons mostly on ocean, including far from shor
Breeding:
Site is on dry ground close to water, often partly hidden under low growth or among rocks. Nest is a depression lined with available plant material and with large amount of down, the down being added after some eggs are laid. The oldsquaw will commonly lay 6-8 eggs.
Diet:
Diet at sea mainly mollusks and crustaceans, also a few small fish. In summer on breeding territory eats mostly aquatic insects, also crustaceans, mollusks, fish eggs, and some plant material including grasses and pondweeds.
Migration:
Migrates relatively late in fall and early in spring. In travel over land, fly very high. Many migrate around coastlines rather than going overland; for example, huge numbers move north through the Bering Straits in spring.
Flyway Patterns:
Oldsquaw are common to the coastal flyways.
Flight Formation:
Small flocks in irregular formation. The Oldsquaw fly low over water and can reach speeds of 40 MPH.
Voice:
The male and female Oldsquaw are very noisy with various melodious calls.

Oldsquaw Flight Characteristics

This guide will help you recognize Oldsquaw on the wing - it emphasizes their size, shape, and flight characteristics. A slim, brightly plumaged sea duck. Their range is primarily along both coasts and the Great Lakes. They are smaller than the scoters, their flight is low and fast and the flock formations are constantly changing. The male and female Oldsquaw are very noisy with various melodious calls.

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