COMMON MERGANSER


Mergus merganser


Description:

The Common Merganser feeds on small fish, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, frogs, and plants. Young mergansers, although guarded by the female, she does not feed them and they must catch their own food after just hatching a day or so earlier. At first, the young mostly feed on aquatic insects, but switch to fish when they are about 12 days old.


Appearance:

General: 22 to 27 inches in length.

Adult Male Alternate: Iridescent greenish-black head and upper neck. Grayish back and tail. White breast, flanks, belly, and the area between the back and the wings. Long, reddish, pointed bill with serrated edges. Plumage worn from fall through early summer.

Adult Male Basic: Plumage similar to adult female.

Adult Female: Reddish-brown head and neck. White chin, breast, and belly. Body is pale gray. Sleek, ragged crest. Long, reddish, pointed bill with serrated edges.

Immature: Similar to adult female, except the white chin is often less distinct.


Habitat:

Lakes and rivers.


Nesting:

9-12 pale buff or ivory eggs. The eggs have a 28-35 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 65-85 days. The nest is a tree cavity, nest box, or other cavity lined with down. Breeds on wooded rivers and ponds.


Observed Locations:

  • Oak Hill Cemetary, Escondido





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.