Common Merganser

Mergus merganser

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

COME

Code 6

MERMER

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Merganser is a large duck which may also be known as the goosander or gulaund. It prefers to reside in Europe, northern Asia and North America, and is frequently seen near lakes and rivers. Nests are made within existing holes in trees in the surrounding areas, and may be left by prior resident species. The Common Merganser eats mainly fish, and is considered a “sawbill” due to the serrated bill which helps to catch them. These ducks also eat mussels, shrimp, young birds and insects. During winter months, northern populations will migrate to ice-free southern zones near lakes and ponds. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Merganser: Large, sleek diving duck with black upperparts and white underparts. Head and upper neck are green-black with head crest usually not visible. Long, thin bill is bright red. Wings are black with extensive white patches. Feeds on fish, mollusks, crustaceans, insects and plants.


Range and Habitat

Common Merganser: Common throughout much of North America. Breeds from eastern Alaska to Newfoundland on wooded rivers, ponds, and lakes. Resident in Northern New England, southern Ontario and Quebec, and in the western states. Spends winters in south as far as Mexico, mainly on large lakes and rivers, occasionally on saltwater.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"croack"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Common Mergansers are the largest of the three merganser species in North America.
  • Gulls often follow flocks as they forage. They wait for the ducks to come to the surface with fish, and then they try to steal their prey. Occasionally a Bald Eagle will attempt this.
  • These large fish-eaters have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey. Along with the Smew and the other Mergansers, they are often known as "sawbills."
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Common Merganser

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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