I have posted photographs of the Red-breasted Merganser over the winter and of Hooded Mergansers in the previous post. The third Merganser that inhabits North America is the Common Merganser. Common Mergansers prefer fresh water environments, like their distant Hooded Merganser relatives but unlike the more closely related Red-Breasted Mergansers who prefer salt water hunting. They are being spotted regularly now that the ice has mostly disappeared from our ponds. Here are some recent photographs.
Male Common Mergansers have a dark green head and lack the crest that females and other Merganser species have. The sleek body and long serrated bill make them excellent fishermen.
The females have a rusty colored head with a shaggy crest. The white chin patch and white breast are field marks.
It is mating time and there is some chasing and displaying going on.
These in-flight shots show the long streamlined body. Most ducks are pretty “chubby” but not these.
Coming: more ducks and early migrants.