Changes in numbers and distribution of wintering Long-tailed Ducks Clangula hyemalis in Swedish waters during the last fifty years
Keywords:aerial survey, population decline
The Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis is the most common wintering waterfowl in Swedish marine waters but it is not well covered in the International Midwinter Counts due to its offshore distribution making special surveys necessary for the species. Surveys covering the entire Baltic Sea were organized for the first time in 1992/1993 with follow-up surveys in 2007–2011 and 2016. In Sweden, aerial line transect surveys covered all areas of importance for the Long-tailed Duck during the last two all-Baltic surveys. In the 1970s extensive regional surveys were done from coastguard boats and airplane. The total wintering population of Long-tailed Duck was estimated to be around 370,000 individuals in 2016 compared to 436,000 in 2009, and in the order of 1,400,000 in 1992/1993, indicating an ongoing decrease. Comparing the more recent surveys with the surveys from the 1970s, the most marked changes in wintering numbers were found east of Gotland, where only a small proportion of the numbers estimated in the 1970s remained. Decreases were also found in the waters around Öland, whereas no marked changes were noted for the smaller wintering populations of the east coast archipelagos.
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