Lophodytes cucullatus
(Hooded Merganser)

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

Physical Description:
16-19" (40-48 cm). Male has black head with contrasting white crest with black hind border; yellow eyes. Shiny black back; white breast with two broad black lines; cinnamon-colored flanksClick word for definition and belly; bill dark and thin. Female is chestnut brown with darker wings and a lighter belly; rust-colored crest.

Similar Species- Male Bufflehead

Courting male gives a frog-like croak.

Breeds from southeastern Alaska and southwestern Canada, south to southwestern Oregon, eastern Idaho, and northwestern Montana. Also breeds in eastern U.S. and eastern Canada. Winters along Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf slopes.

Found on streams, lakes, swamps, marshes, and estuaries. Winters mostly in freshwater, but can also be found on estuaries and sheltered bays. In Idaho, prefers wooded streams and flooded bottomlands during summer, and open bodies of water in winter.

Eats mostly small fishes, crayfishes, and other crustaceans, but may also eat aquatic insects.

Dives underwater to obtain food. Nests in cavity in tree. Limited breeding occurs in northern Idaho and along Snake River in southeast. Usually seen during fall and spring migration and in winter. Similar to Wood Duck in habitat use.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 6-18 eggs for 29-37 days. In some areas, nests may include eggs of Wood Duck or Goldeneye. Young first fly at about 10 wk, and first breed at abou 2 yr.

Element Code: ABNJB20010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
National Rank: N5B,N5N

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

Photo by George Jameson, ©2002
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.