Mergus merganser
(Common Merganser)


Order: Anseriformes
Order Description: Swans, Geese, Ducks
Family: Anatidae
Family Description: Swans, Geese and Ducks

Physical Description:
22-27" (56-69 cm). Male has glossy green-black head with a orange-red bill; black back and wings; white below. White is visible on sides and inner wings in flight. Females have brownish-red head with crest and gray back and wings.

Similar Species- Male Red-breasted Merganser

Song:
Repeated croaking sounds.

Distribution:
Breeds from Alaska and Canada, south to central California, Arizona, and Mexico. Also breeds in northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada. Winters from Alaska and southern Canada, south to Mexico and Florida.

Habitat:
Found mostly on lakes and rivers; winters primarily on open lakes and rivers and brackishClick word for definition lagoons, rarely in marine coastal situations. In Idaho, breeds on forest watercourses, and winters on Snake River and larger reservoirs in southern part of state.

Diet:
Eats mainly fishes, but will also eat amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Young initially feed on insects caught underwater.

Ecology:
Dives under water surface to obtain food. Usually nests in cavity in tree, but will occasionally nest on ground, around shrubs or under rocks.

Reproduction:
Female incubatesClick word for definition 6-17 eggs (usually 9-12), for 28-32 days. Young first fly at 60-70 days, and breed at end of second year.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABNJB21010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photo by Greg Kearns, ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.