We know Tom Fuller reported a Long-tailed Duck earlier in the week (see post below), and we think the one we found today is probably the same one, but we are confused about something.  The folks at the Audubon Headquarters are insisting they saw a MALE Long-tailed Duck the day Tom reported this duck.   They say the duck they saw DID NOT have the long tail typical of a male, but they thought it was a first year winter plumage male or a molting winter plumage male.  They are insisting that males don't have the long tails at points in their life.

The duck we saw today did not have the long tail of the male, either.  Does anyone know enough about Long-tailed Ducks to tell us if the duck we saw today was male or female?  We'd say female ordinarily, but we don't know enough about this species.  I have to admit that the patterning on the head and back does strike me as male winter plumage as well as the pink bill, but there is no long tail.   Is there a period in the male's life cycle when he doesn't have his long tail?  Could this be a winter plumage first year male or a winter plumage molting male?  We have included photos of the one we saw today.  Thanks for any help:

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildreturn/albums/72157662420206232

Thanks,
Andy Reago
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St. Louis MO

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From: "Tom Fuller" <[log in to unmask]>
To:
Cc:
Sent: Wed, 16 Dec 2015 21:28:44 +0000
Subject: Long-tailed duck at RMBS

Straight out from the Audubon Center. In a raft of Cans and Mallards.




Tom Fuller (iPhone)
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618-972-9492

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