Subarctic and arctic wetlands, rarely to tree line; occasionally found in tundra habitats at higher latitudes. Nests near and raises broods on freshwater (including offshore islands with freshwater ponds and tundra vegetation). Often nests on islands or peninsulas in lakes. In Alaska, breeding birds use shallow sedge (Carex) or pendant grass (Artophila)-dominated ponds and braided streams (Robertson and Savard 2002). Nests are often concealed by vegetation, low-growing shrubs or spruce trees (Picea spp.), and broods are usually reared on ponds with emergent vegetation (Todd 1996). In the Arctic NWR, the highest density of breeding Long- tailed Ducks was found in an area characterized by a flooded pond complex with vegetation dominated by sedges and willows (Salix spp.; Spindler and Miller 1983).
Robertson, G.J. and J.L. Savard. 2002. Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis. In The Birds of North America, No. 651 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
Spindler, M. A. and P. A. Miller. 1983. Terrestrial bird populations and habitat use on coastal plain tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR Prog. Rep. No. FY83-5. Arctic NWR Coastal Plain Resource Assessment, USFWS, Fairbanks, AK. Pp 108-200 In 1982 Update report baseline study of the fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Section 1002C, ANILCA, USDI, USFWS, Reg. 7, Anchorage, AK, January 1983.
Todd, F. S. 1996. Natural History of the Waterfowl. San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA. Ibis Pub. Co., California. 490 pp.