First record of Long-tailed Duck for Morocco and Africa

By MaghrebOrnitho | 10 June 2014

A female Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) was found and photographed on the lagoons just northeast of Oualidia on 5-6 June 2014. The bird was found by Bart Brieffies that was in a Birdfinders trip that included eight birders from four European nations. This is the first Moroccan record of the Long-tailed Duck and “may well be the first record for Africa” commented the tour leader Vaughan Ashby who sent us the record.

Une femelle Harelde boréale a été photographiée dans la lagune de Oualidia les 5-6 juin. Il s’agit de la première observation marocaine pour cette espèce circumpolaire, c’est aussi la première mention pour le continent Africain (observée auparavant seulement dans les archipels atlantiques des Canaries et de Madère).

The distribution of the species as seen in the HBW Alive (Carboneras & Kirwan 2014): “Circumpolar, breeding on Arctic coasts of North America (Alaska, Canada and Greenland), Europe (Scandinavia) and Asia (Russia). Winters south as far as Oregon, Great Lakes and North Carolina in USA, SW Greenland, Iceland, Britain, Baltic and North Seas, and in Pacific from Kamchatka south to Korea; also several inland areas”.


Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2014). Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 June 2014).

Thanks to Vaughan Ashby for sending us this record and for permission to use his photograph.

Update (12 June):

This observation is also the first record for the species for continental Africa (previously only observed in the Atlantic archipelagos of the Canary Islands and Madeira, thanks Richard Klim). I checked “Oiseaux de Tunisie/Birds of Tunisia” (Isenmann et al. 2005) and found that the Long-tailed Duck was not listed. Denis Lepage (Avibase editor), commented on twitter that he “can’t find a source of the Tunisia record in Avibase, and looks like an error/unconfirmed sighting”. Denis subsequently deleted the record from the Bird Checklist of Tunisia in Avibase.
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Oualidia lagoon, Morocco on 6 June 2014
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Oualidia lagoon, Morocco, 6 June 2014 (Vaughan Ashby)


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