Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Foto

At about the size of the ubiquitous Mallard, the Common Merganser is the largest of North America’s three merganser species.

Sporting a sharply serrated bill, their diet consists mostly of fish. They will also eat mussels, shrimp, salamanders and, rarely, plant material.

Common throughout North America, they breed from eastern Alaska to Newfoundland on wooded rivers, ponds, and lakes. Resident in Northern New England, southern Ontario and Quebec, and in the western states. They overwinter along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland almost to Florida, in the interior from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to Mexico.

A cavity nester, the hatchlings, when only a few days old, will climb to the nest entrance and jump to the ground.

According to the IUCN Red List their conservation status is “Least Concern”. While currently considered stable, populations in North America declined by over 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 65%. They are not on the 2016 State of the Birds Watch List.

Their scientific name, Mergus merganser, means L. mergus - type of waterbird, plunging goose. In Britain, it is known as the Gossander.

You can download a complete Species Knowledge Summary and Information Needs sheet from the “Sea Duck Joint Venture” here.

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