Red-breasted Merganser

Mergus serrator

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

RBME

Code 6

MERSER

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Red-breasted Merganser has a large range, estimated globally at 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to North America, Europe and Asia, this bird prefers inland wetland and neritic or coastal marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 510,000 to 600,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Red-breasted Merganser is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Red-breasted Merganser: This medium-sized diving duck has black upperparts, gray sides, rust-brown breast, white belly, green head, double crests and neck, and white neck ring. The long thin bill, legs and feet are bright orange. Females are brown-gray with gray-washed, red-brown head, double crest and white breast and belly. Feeds mostly on small fish. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats.

 

Range and Habitat

Red-breasted Merganser: Breeds in Alaska and across northern Canada to Newfoundland and south to the Great Lakes. Spends winters chiefly along the coasts from Alaska south to northern Mexico, from Maritime Provinces south to Florida, and along the Gulf Coast. Preferred habitat for breeding includes wooded lakes and tundra ponds; found mainly on saltwater during winter.

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Red-breasted Merganser SONGS AND CALLS

Red-breasted Merganser A1

Raspy croaking calls from a female in flight.

Red-breasted Merganser A2

Soft croaks from a small group of displaying males.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

Generally silent

INTERESTING FACTS

  • It prefers salt water more than the other two species of merganser.
  • The Red-breasted Merganser was first described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist.
  • They breed farther north and winter farther south than the other American mergansers.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X