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A photo of a Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), male
Common Merganser, Male

Common Merganser

Mergus merganser

The common merganser (North American) or goosander (Eurasian) (Mergus merganser) is a large seaduck of rivers and lakes in forested areas of Europe, Asia, and North America. Like other species in the genus Mergus, it has a crest of longer head feathers, but these usually lie smoothly rounded behind the head, not normally forming an erect crest. Adult males in breeding plumage are easily distinguished, the body white with a variable salmon-pink tinge, the head black with an iridescent green gloss, the rump and tail grey, and the wings largely white on the inner half, black on the outer half. Females and males in "eclipse" (non-breeding plumage, July to October) are largely grey, with a reddish-brown head, white chin, and white secondary feathers on the wing. Juveniles (both sexes) are similar to adult females but also show a short black-edged white stripe between the eye and bill. The bill and legs are red to brownish-red, brightest on adult males, dullest on juveniles. The common merganser eats mainly fish. It nests in holes in trees.
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