Clangula hyemalis is the sole species of its genus, and thus is an interesting organism to study and protect. Although multiple references claim long-tailed ducks are the most prolific species of sea duck, population estimates are often unreliable and cursory. Though long-tailed ducks are fairly abundant, have a large geographic distribution and consume various animal and plant matter, estimated populations levels have been decreasing slightly over the last decade. In North America, the long-tailed duck population has declined by almost half in the last three decades. Because of wetland habitat degradation through petroleum pollution, drainage and peat extraction, important breeding sites for mature adults are being destroyed. There have also been reported cases of mortality from lead, mercury and oil pollution as well as entanglement in fishing nets. Long-tailed duck populations recently suffered significant losses because of an outbreak of avian cholera. Individuals are also believed to be susceptible to avian influenza. Currently, it is estimated that 6,200,000 to 6,800,000 mature individuals populate the arctic region.
US Migratory Bird Act: protected
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern