Long-tailed Duck

On February 28 of this year, refuge volunteer Jan Richmond spotted a drake Long-tailed Duck near the Bill Williams River NWR headquarters.  This is a rare bird in Arizona, a “Sketch Details” species found mainly on the Colorado River.  I was very pleased that this guy hung around long enough for others to see it – partly because it’s such a beautiful bird, and partly because it was a new species for me for Mohave County!

I went out to the Refuge HQ this morning for a bit of birding.  The Long-tailed Duck was much closer today than it was when I saw it before, swimming contentedly in La Paz County, in the CAP inlet.  I got a few low-quality images, which I doctored up a little bit by darkening them.

I can’t say I fully understand the complex molt strategy of this species, but this guy appears to be pretty squarely in his “winter” plumage.  The short tail feathers, however, suggest a young bird – maybe a third-year?
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About Lauren Harter

I live in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where I work as a field biologist and spend as much of the rest of my time as possible looking at (and listening to!) birds.
This entry was posted in Bill Williams, La Paz County, LCRV, Vagrants. Bookmark the permalink.

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