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Hooded Merganser Female

Hooded Merganser Female
Photo Information
Copyright: Jean Yves Bissonnette (JYB) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 84] (916)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-03
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 30D, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM, RAW @ ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-11-01 20:14
Viewed: 5126
Points: 6
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A small fish-eating duck of wooded ponds, the Hooded Merganser nests in holes in trees. It is frequently seen on shallow waters where its only waterfowl companion is the Wood Duck.

Cool Facts

The Hooded Merganser is the second-smallest of the six living species of mergansers (only the Smew of Eurasia is smaller) and is the only one restricted to North America.

Although up to 44 Common Merganser eggs have been found in one nest, one female probably does not lay more than about 13. Larger clutches result when more than one female lays eggs in a nest.

The Hooded Merganser finds its prey underwater by sight. The merganser can actually change the refractive properties of its eyes to enhance its underwater vision. In addition, the nictating membrane (third eyelid) is very transparent and probably acts to protect the eye during swimming, just like a pair of goggles.

topSize: 40-49 cm (16-19 in)
Wingspan: 60-66 cm (24-26 in)
Weight: 453-879 g (15.99-31.03 ounces)

Small to medium-sized duck.
Long, narrow bill.
Fluffy, fan-shaped crest.
Male with large white patch in crest.

Small white patch at base of wings visible in flight.
Long, somewhat pointed tail.

Sex Differences
Male boldly patterned with black and white crest, female smaller and grayish brown with shorter crest.

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Circular crest with large white patch, outlined in black. Face black. Eyes gold. Back black. Sides rusty. Chest white, bordered by black and white stripes. Bill dark with yellow base.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Back, sides, and breast grayish brown. Belly white. Crest dusky, not brown like female's. Eyes yellow. Bill black.

Body brownish. Head brownish with bushy rufous crest. Small white patch on chin. Breast and neck slaty. Tail brownish. Wings blackish brown. Small white patch at base of wings. Eyes brownish buff. Upper mandible blackish green with orange edge, lower mandible orange or yellowish.

Immature resembles adult female. First-year male similar to female, but crest dull brown with a white patch, some black feathers on head and sides, bill dark, and eyes yellow.

Similar Species

Bufflehead male in breeding plumage is more white overall, lacks buffy sides, and has a larger white patch that wraps around the back of its greenish head. Female and nonbreeding male Buffleheads have distinctive oval white cheek patches.
Female Wood Duck has sleek crest white inverted comma around the eye.
Other female mergansers have thinner crests and red on their bills.

Silent except in courtship when male gives a deep rolling frog-like sound. Wings produce a loud whistling in flight.

Breeds from central British Columbia southward to coastal Oregon and western Montana. Also from eastern Saskatchewan and eastern Dakotas eastward to Atlantic Coast northward to Nova Scotia, southward to Louisiana and northern Florida.

Winter Range
Winters from southeastern Alaska to southern California, and Arizona. Also from southeastern Minnesota, southern Ontario, and central Maine southward to Gulf Coast and Florida.


Breeds in forested wetlands.
In migration and in winter found in wider range of open waters, along coasts, and in shallower waters than other mergansers.

Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans (especially crayfish).

Dives underwater to catch prey.

Nest Type
Nest in tree cavity or nest box, lined with downy feathers from chest of female.

Egg Description

Clutch Size
5-44 eggs.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with down, eyes open. Leave nest within one day after hatching.

Conservation Status : Populations appear stable.

Other Names
Harle Couronné (French)
Serreta capuchona (Spanish)

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Critiques [Translate]

naprawdę dobre i ostre zdjęcie.
Podobają mi się barwy i ptaka i otoczenia. Widać było dość zimno bo lód jest też na piórkach kaczki. Ładny jest też kadr zdjęcia, od razu widać, ze robiono je w naturalnych, surowych warunkach.
Gratuluję i pozdrawiam

  • Great 
  • hibou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 217 W: 1 N: 331] (1629)
  • [2008-11-03 16:36]

Bonjour Jean-Yves,
superbe cliché, d'un sujet magnifique.
merci Donald

Hello Jean Yves,
Great capture of this lovely hooded merganser female, excellent sharpness and details, beautiful natural colors, nice light, good depth of field and great pose.

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