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Red-breasted Merganser

Mergus serrator ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large diving duck with a long thin bill, the Red-breasted Merganser is found in large lakes, rivers and the ocean. It prefers salt water more than the other two species of merganser.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
20.1–25.2 in
51–64 cm
Wingspan
26–29.1 in
66–74 cm
Weight
28.2–47.6 oz
800–1350 g
Other Names
  • Harle huppé (French)
  • Mergo copetón (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Red-breasted Merganser breeds farther north and winters farther south than the other American mergansers.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Food


Fish

Mostly fish; also crustaceans, insects, and tadpoles.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Egg Description
Olive-buff.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with down, eyes open. Leave nest within one or two days after hatching.
Nest Description

Depression in ground, lined with down. Often placed under boulder or in dense shrubs.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Surface Dive

Dives underwater to catch prey.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Credits

  • Titman, R. D. 1999. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator). In The Birds of North America, No. 443 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Red-breasted Merganser Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

You Might Also Like

What to Watch For: Duck Courtship [video], All About Birds blog, January 20, 2015.

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