Common Merganser

Mergus merganser
Common merganser males lack a head crest/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

The Common merganser is a common breeding bird in the Refuge and surrounding area, but uncommon in our area during the rest of the year. The Common merganser lacks a distinct crest and has all white under-parts. It is the largest of the three North American mergansers. It nests in natural tree cavities usually made by other species.  Its serrated bill is helpful when diving for large fish in that it makes it easier to hang on to them.   Eagles and gulls often follow mergansers when they fish hoping to snatch the prey from them when they come to the surface. 

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Facts About Common Merganser

Known as a “Sawbill”

Long, thin, red bill with serrated edges

Gulls and Bald Eagles follow them to try and steal their prey