Brazilian Merganser Duck
The Brazilian Merganser Duck is a duck in the typical merganser genus. It is one of the six most threatened waterfowl in the world with possibly fewer than 250 birds in the wild and none kept in captivity. The origin of its name is from its long, sharp-edged beak that has a great number of teeth-looking edges.
Appearance: – The male Brazilian Merganser has a shiny green-black head and neck with a long crest, brown eyes, a long thin black beak, the lower neck, breast and flanks are light grey, the under-parts are finely barred with brown and white, upper-parts are dark grey, blackish wings with white patch which is distinctive in flight, and legs and feet are reddish. The female is similar but is smaller and has a shorter beak and crest.
Size: – Typical Adult is 19-22 inches.
Food: – Fish, molluscs, insects, and larvae.
Habitat: – Clean, fast flowing rivers and streams in central-southern Brazil with possibly smaller populations in Paraguay and Argentina.
Breeding Season: – Begins in June.
Eggs: – 3 to 6 (pale-cream color).
Notes: – The Brazilian Merganser is a South American sea duck which dives for small fish and uses its sawbill to grip the fish. They nest in tree hollows beside a fast-flowing river. The Brazilian Merganser is classed as ‘Endangered’ with a very small population of around 250 birds. This duck has mainly declined due to loss of habitat because of deforestation, silting of rivers by farming and mining, hydro power plants and dam-building.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.