Diving Ducks: Hooded Merganser

Photo of Hooded Merganser (male)

Hooded Mergansers are compact diving ducks who specialize in catching and consuming small fish and other aquatic prey. They spend winter in marshes and along rivers, and after ice-out they move to secluded wooded wetlands where they seek out a natural cavity (or nest box put up by people) in which to nest. Females lay about a dozen eggs, but nests may occasionally contain many more eggs, with contributions from several hens. Shortly after hatching, the fluffy ducklings leap from their natal cavity and, if they don't drop straight into the water, follow their mother to a nearby wetland.

To learn more about these cavity-nesting water birds, visit All About Birds. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

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