This has always been my favourite duck, riding out the storms on wintry Lake Ontario in great numbers. diving to great depths for little pea clams, flying back and forth through the gaps between the lake and Toronto bay and talking constantly: “Ow – ow- oo – ah”.
This is a mainly black and white duck, some black on a mostly white body and head in winter, and some white on a mostly black background in summer with a few touches of colour on the beak and back.
The long thin tail distinguishes it from all other males except the Pintail (which has a long, almost swanlike neck, brown head and long white stripe on the side of the neck, very different from the low profile, black and white Oldsquaw).
The very fast flight, low over the water, rolling from side to side as they fly, is also characteristic.
Dr J. Murray Speirs