School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Bird Details

Duck Like Duck Like

Common Merganser

Mergus merganser

Common Merganser
copyright Robert Shantz
Length: 25 in. (64 cm)
Wintering in small groups on deep rivers, lakes, ponds and occasionally in coastal bays, this deep-diving species uses the saw-toothed edges of its bill to catch and hold on to fish. During the summer they move to forested and mountainous lakes to nest high in tree cavities or rarely in rock crevices and holes in dirt banks. The nest is lined with vegetation, moss and feathers. Females alone incubate and care for the young. The four-digit banding code is COME.

Open water
Open water

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.