Hooded Merganser Duck
Hooded Merganser Ducks are the second smallest species of merganser, with only the smew of Europe and Asia being smaller, and it also is the only merganser whose native habitat is restricted to North America.
Male – The male Hooded Merganser Duck has a black head with a large white patch from behind the yellow eye to its bushy crest which can be expanded or contracted. The neck and back are black with a black band across a white breast, reddish-brown flanks, and a thin black beak. The Hooded Merganser has a sawbill for gripping fish.
Female – The female Hooded Merganser Duck has a dull brown head with a smaller red-brown crest, brown eyes, the beak has a yellow lower mandible and darker upper mandible, the upper-parts are brownish-grey with greyish upper-breast, flanks, and white lower-breast.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is very similar to the female but has yellow eyes and a darker beak.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 19 inches.
Food: – Small fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.
Habitat: – Swamps, wooded ponds, lakes, and rivers in northern USA, and southern Canada. They winter in the USA.
Breeding Season: – March to beginning of May in colder regions.
Eggs: – 8 to 12 (glossy white color).
Notes: – The Hooded Merganser Duck is a sea duck. It is able to dive for fish and stay underwater for some time and uses its sawbill to grip the fish.
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.