Hooded Merganser

Waterfowl Identification

The large head of the Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus, drake is black with a large fan-shaped white crest. The back is black with white stripes. The breast and belly are white and the flanks are brown. The hen has a brown crest and a grayish brown body.

Goldeneyes, Buffleheads and Mergansers are easily confused. Overall size, shape and amount of white are the key field marks. Hooded Mergansers are medium in size and the drakes show large amounts of white on the head.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS

Often seen in pairs, or very small flocks. Short rapid wingstrokes create an impression of great speed. Winters in the inland waters of all coastal States; seldom goes to salt water.

Length: 18"
Weight: 1 1/2lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS

Voice: Seldom heard in fall.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018