Friday, May 27, 2011

Bird a Day: Hooded Merganser

We're getting close to the end of the month and bird a day is almost over!  Good thing because I'm running out of pictures to share.  Today's bird is the Hooded Merganser.  It is one of the few species of waterfowl that breed in our area, along with Mallard and Wood Ducks (and I guess the parking lot variety of the Canada Goose too).  They nest in tree cavities like the Wood Duck with several females sometimes laying in one nest.  They have a serrated bill like all mergansers that they use to catch fish underwater.  Hooded Mergansers dive underwater and use their nictating membrane (third eyelid) like goggles so they can see underwater.

Hooded Merganser

Above is a female Hooded Merganser and she is much more drab than the male.  Both sexes have a long serrated bill and a hood on the back of the head, though it is much more pronounced in the males.  Here is a picture of the male courtesy of my friend Bob over at Texas Tweeties.  You can see the contrasting black and white facial pattern and the large white hood make this bird unmistakable in summer.


Gary said...

Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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