The hooded merganser is also called the “fish duck” because of the large amounts of fish it consumes. It is distinguished by its long black bill and the lavish crest of feathers - or hood -- on its head.
Range & Habitat
Hooded Mergansers live in forested wetlands throughout the eastern half of North America and the Pacific Northwest.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
In The Wild: small fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans (especially crayfish), amphibians, vegetation and mollusks
In Human Care: humanely sourced smelt and silversides, krill and waterfowl pellets.
In Human Care: Up to 14 years
Fun Facts about the Hooded Merganser
- Females often lay their egg clutches (averaging 13 eggs) in tree cavities as high as 50 feet off the ground. The eggs hatch 26-41 days after being laid. Hatchlings leave the nest within 24 hours by jumping to the ground and walking as much as a mile together to find water.
- Mergansers are the only ducks that specialize in eating fish. They have a third “eyelid” that acts like a goggle to help them see prey underwater.
- In the spring, male hooded mergansers do a complex courtship display to impress females. They tip their heads back, fan out their crest and make a croaking sound.
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds, Hooded Merganser Life History -https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Merganser/lifehistory
- Audubon Guide to North American Birds, Hooded Merganser. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/hooded-merganser
- Animal Spot - Hooded Merganser. https://www.animalspot.net/hooded-merganser.html