We see three species of Mergansers in Massachusetts. I have posted several photographs of the Red-breasted Merganser recently. They are found in salt water environments and can be found all winter. The other two, Common Merganser and Hooded Merganser, are fresh water ducks and get scarcer as the ponds ice over. Now that the ice is nearly gone, we can find them all over. The Hooded Merganser is striking in appearance. They take the Merganser crest to a new level. These males have the crest, or hood, partially and fully extended.
The females have a more spikey crest. They lack the flashy white patch but have a nice cinnamon color.
The male in this photo really flares out his hood as he lands.
Here a male preens in a narrow passage in the ice while a female tries to pass. She doesn’t seem all that impressed. She swam past him and into the brush on the edge of the little pond. He looked a little crestfallen when he followed after her.
Next post: Common Mergansers.