Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw) ID Query

Something I’ve observed with many bird photographers is that they prefer to photograph nothing more than adult male birds regardless of species. On the other hand I strive to capture every plumage I can. Here are several images captured on March 1, 2014 on the north shore of Long Island, NY. I photographed at least 12 different birds of differing plumage that day at the Mattituck Inlet. Here are 8 photos representing most of the ducks I mentioned. Some of the IDs are cut and dry but a few I’m not 100% sure of. I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that at this time of year immature males/females and adult females can look similar. With all the specialized field guides out including shorebirds, warblers, hawks, seabirds and several more, there is nothing on waterfowl. This is sorely needed. Yes, I have the old Madge book but we really need something new that’s a little more comprehensive.

I would appreciate any comments, especially if you can age and sex these birds.

As always, click on thumbnail to see full size view.


This entry was posted in Birds and tagged , , .


  1. JH March 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Ducks, Geese and Swans of NA. by Frank C. Bellrose, has plates of birds in winter/summer plumage, and it shows some species in eclipse.
    It didn’t have eclipse drawings for oldsquaws.
    But it looks like the two females one up from the bottom look like females as you id’ them.
    One other id aid is males weither winter/summer have a ‘tail projection’, females birds don’t.
    Check out the text-its not a filed guide.

    • Lloyd March 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thank you John. Much appreciated.

  2. galaxycoff June 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    Hi Lloyd,

    Your pictures are phenomenal! Would you mind if I used them in a power point bird quiz for a class I TA? I always like to double-check with the photographer when I can. I see your pictures have a watermark and would be happy to include any additional citation you’d like.

    • Lloyd June 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Sure. For this use only. Thanks for looking and thanks for the nice compliment.

  3. galaxycoff June 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    Thanks so much! Indeed, I ask because they are some of the best up-close, high-quality and in some cases “diagnostic” shots I can find! The students will surely appreciate the clarity 🙂 Thank you again!

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