Red-breasted Merganser

(Mergus Serrator)

Appearance:
Male - The male Red-breasted Merganser has a dark green head with a long distinctive spiky crest, long thin red serrated beak, red eyes, white neck, finely black spotted rusty coloured breast, undersides are creamy-white, flanks are white with fine black barring, a black back, and legs and feet are red.
Female - The female has a rusty coloured head with a smaller crest, mottled grey-brown body, reddish-brown eyes, slightly less reddish beak and legs than the male.
Eclipse - The male in eclipse plumage is similar to the female but has a darker mantle, and retains its wing pattern which is visible. The beak and legs are also redder than the female.

Size: - Typical Adult is 52-58cm (20-23in).

Food: - Small fish, eels, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.

Habitat/Range: - Lakes, rivers, pools, and coastal waters in northern Europe, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the Aleutians. Breeds further north than most Mergansers. Winters further south in coastal areas of Europe, North America down to Mexico, Japan, Korea and south-eastern China.

Red-breasted Merganser Map
Breeding Habitat/Resident,    Migration or Winter Area.

Breeding Season: - End of May to mid-July.

Eggs: - 7 to 12 (greenish-buff colour).

Notes: - The Red-breasted Merganser is a sea duck which is able to dive for fish and stay underwater for some time and uses its sawbill to grip the fish.

Conservation status (IUCN 3.1):
  Least Concern.  

Classification: - Family: Anatidae,
Subfamily: Merginae, Genus: Mergus.

Compare with other Duck species.

Compare Sea Ducks.

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Red-breasted Merganser - photo by Neill Smith
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus Serrator) - photo by Neill Smith
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