Common Merganser

Mergus merganser

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

COME

Code 6

MERMER

ITIS

Egg Color:

Light buff or yellow



Number of Eggs:

6 - 17



Incubation Days:

65 - 70



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

On ground., In tree cavity or abandoned nest.



Nest Material:

Lined with down., Wood chips in base of cavity.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

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. Female is gray overall with red-brown, crested head and neck, white chin, dull white upper breast and belly, and orange bill. Juvenile resembles female but has more white on chin, a faint white eye-ring, and duller bill. Eclipse male resembles both but is more distinctly dark and light gray mottled.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Common Merganser: Six to seventeen light buff or yellow eggs are laid in a down-lined hollow on the ground or in a tree cavity. Incubation ranges from 28 to 35 days and is carried out by the female; young begin to fly at 65 to 70 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Common Merganser: Feeds on insects, small fish, and aquatic plants. Forages by diving from the surface and chasing down prey underwater; hooked upper mandible with serrations are designed to catch slippery fish.

Vocalization

Common Merganser: Call is that of low, rasping croaks.

Similar Species

Common Merganser: Red-breasted Merganser has streaked or spotted breast, gray sides, and distinct crest.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

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.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X