Hooded Mergansers are small ducks, the smallest of the three species of mergansers found in North America. They have thin, serrated bills tipped with a hooked nail, and fan-shaped, collapsible crests. Their extravagant crests, or “hoods” give their heads an oversized, oblong appearance. Adult males are decorated with sharp black-and-white patterns set off by chestnut flanks. Females get their own distinctive elegance from their beautiful, cinnamon-colored crests. During the nonbreeding season, the male looks similar to the female, except that his eyes are yellow while the female's eyes are brown. Hooded Mergansers feed by diving, finding their prey by sight. Their third eyelid is clear and acts like a pair of goggles, protecting their eyes during underwater swimming.
Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus
Native to: North America
Average Length: 17.5”
Average Weight: 1.47 lbs.
Photo Credit: Ken Billington (Own work)