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L. 39-47 cm (excl. elongated tail-feathers of male [10-15])
North America, Europe and Asia.
In Europe in winter along coasts in Western Europe, rarer inland.
Spring migration through the Baltic is spectacular; main exodus from Gulf of Finland to tundras in NE on late-May evenings with tail-wind, involving over 100,000 birds on peak days.
Breeds commonly in the Arctic on tundra pools and marshes, also along sea coasts (local in the Baltic) and on still-standing mountain waters. Winters at sea.
Gregarious; often in large, dense flocks, mainly off coasts.
Restless and active, taking off and flying agilely, low over the water, in short pursuit-flights, constantly changing direction, landing with splash.
Dives for molluscs and other animal food.
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 In Culture
Formerly known in North America as the Oldsquaw.
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