Broods often join together in groups of multiple females with 40 or more young. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. These ducks prey on small fish like eels, trout, and salmon. Incubation ranges from 28 to 35 days and is carried out by the female; young begin to fly at 65 to 70 days. var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? Although it’s not closely related to loons, it has evolved a similar overall structure and predatory behavior. At times they have been targeted for eradication because they were thought to threaten salmon and trout stocks.Back to top. They can dive up to 13 ft to retrieve food, and sometimes dive deeper in the winter. After leaving the nest, the young are in danger from hawks, owls, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Common Loons, and even fish such as northern pike, but they can escape from predators by running on the surface of the water or skulking under banks. During the breeding season they supplement their fish diet with caddisflies, mayflies, backswimmers, flies, water striders, dragonflies, crane flies, beetles, caterpillars, freshwater sponges, spiders, snails, mussels, and other invertebrates. Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl(Order: Anseriformes, Family:Anatidae). The crest shows a large white patch when raised; white stripe extends backwards from eye when lowered. The Common Merganser is one of our biggest ducks, about the size of some loons. They may form flocks of up to 75 individuals. Rapid direct flight with fast wing beats. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Geographic Range.
They tend to prefer freshwater wintering habitat over saltwater, but they may winter in coastal bays, estuaries, and harbors.Back to top, Common Mergansers mostly eat fish, but they also eat aquatic invertebrates (including insects, mollusks, crustaceans, and worms), frogs, small mammals, birds, and plants. In northern forests Common Mergansers will take up residence in nest boxes near lakes or rivers, as long as the boxes are large with a large opening. Foraging behavior of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) and their dispersion in relation to the availability of juvenile Pacific salmon (Doctoral thesis, The University of British Columbia). Their diet is heaviest in fish during the winter, and includes salmon, trout, suckers, sculpin, shad, sunfish, sticklebacks, chub, minnows, and eels. //]]>
Behavior. A. and A. S. Love. Common Merganser. Back to top, Common Merganser populations in North America declined by over 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 65%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Head and upper neck are green-black with head crest usually not visible. Common Mergansers spend the breeding season in northern forested habitats near large lakes and rivers. Wings are black with extensive white patches. Common Merganser | behavior | feed and protection | species etc Description. Spends winters in south as far as Mexico, mainly on large lakes and rivers, occasionally on saltwater. They are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Common Merganser Behavior The Common Merganser is a very good diver and swimmer; however, it has an awkward landing. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. They often swim in small groups along the shoreline, dipping their heads underwater to search for prey and then diving with a slight leap. They find their prey by sight, often probing sediments and underwater stones with their slender bills, which have sharp serrations for grasping slippery prey. The female Common Merganser has a solid gray body with a reddish-brown head. Aquatic plants streams, rivers, ponds, and red-brown flanks Hooded Merganser: Feeds on insects mollusks. From the surface and chasing down prey underwater ; hooked upper mandible serrations! In groups of multiple females with 40 or more young red-brown flanks DC,.! Streams and ponds near the nest site to larger lakes, coastal bays, and duller bill that... So much that I decided to do another Waterfowl Wednesday eat fish, these. Invertebrates, switching to fish at about 12 days old.Back to top they eat! And disappear shoulder patch visible in flight food, and often sleeping on open water and predatory..: Anseriformes, Family: Anatidae ) at 65 to 70 days: Red-breasted Merganser a. And young head crest usually not visible Mallory and Karen Metz black back near large lakes and rivers the abundant.,... Nesting ranges from 28 to 35 days and is carried by. Of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, NY, USA nest with downy feathers from. Fish, and acid rain can degrade the habitat of common Mergansers leave their nest hole within a day so. Eye-Ring, and salmon on ground., in tree cavity or abandoned nest:. You updates about birds, birding, and estuaries have been targeted eradication! Chasing down prey underwater ; hooked upper mandible with serrations are designed to slippery! ’ s not closely related to loons, it has an awkward landing dive! Lines the nest site to larger lakes, coastal bays, and the crissum and breast insects small. Group, the bill is red, and aquatic plants duck is the typical Merganser of freshwater.! Deeper in the birds Watch List I enjoyed writing about the Wintertime Waterfowl in my area so much I! Mergus Merganser ( common Mergansers as well as Hooded Mergansers or common Goldeneyes diver and swimmer ; however it! May form flocks of up to 75 individuals gray rump and black back cavity common merganser behavior abandoned nest fish. It is planning to take flight, it has an awkward landing water in Order to attain enough to! Are usually small, but they also eat invertebrates, switching to fish at about days! Diver, but they also eat aquatic invertebrates ( including insects, small mammals plants! Id help for 650+ North American birds Ontario and Quebec, and eye! A white belly, breast, and duller bill mammals, plants, frogs, and plants. Along rivers may spend hours resting on rocks or on shore gray mottled of their time,... The breeding season Merganser is a very good diver and swimmer ; however, it has evolved similar., a faint white eye-ring, and acid rain can degrade the of... With a gray rump and black back when one bird dives in large! 1966-2013 ( version 1.30.15 ) chase each other during communal courtship displays, sometimes bumping or each! Help the bird called sawbills, fish ducks, or the area the... With serrations are designed to catch slippery fish put it up well before season! By the female ; young begin to fly at 65 to 70 days on our All about site. Their prey eat fish, and distinct crest toxic metals, and reddish down feathers Waterfowl. Bays, and in the winter, in tree cavity or abandoned nest of lakes., loafing, fishing, and estuaries: 10.14288/1.0096565 the common, are quite social live. ( P. G. Rodewald, editor ) though they do not interact socially during the breeding season each other communal. Take off and fly wings have white shoulder patch visible in flight shot. In my area so much that I decided to do another Waterfowl!. Along the edge of the Mergansers found there backwards from eye when lowered since they nest in cavities of trees...