"Long Tailed Winter Bird" is the opening track of McCartney III, the former Beatle's 18th solo release. Along with "Winter Bird / When Winter Comes," it bookends the album's vast range of modes and moods.
The album process was first sparked when McCartney returned to his early '90s song "When Winter Comes" during the coronavirus lockdown. He originally was going to slot it in as a bonus track on the Flaming Pie reissue, but the musician thought it deserved its own place in the sun, so he asked children's artist Geoff Dunbar to make a short animated film to accompany it.
Dunbar asked McCartney to do two short songs for the opening and end titles. After coming up with the two short pieces of film music, Macca decided to extend the little opening piece, and that became "Long Tailed Winter Bird."
The song title does not appear in the lyrics. McCartney wanted to continue the "wintery" theme of the closing track, so he chose "Long Tailed Winter Bird" after seeing a long-tailed winter duck in his bird book.
McCartney plays the recorder on this track. He said in a Reddit AMA: "I've been playing recorder very badly since the 60s!" (He also played the recorder on The Beatles' "The Fool On The Hill").