Common Merganser

Important Notice: will be shutting down on January 2, 2019. However, most of the content found here will now be available on the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program website.

Mergus merganser

The drake of this large, fish-eating bird has a long, thin, pointed, bright red bill, a dark green head, a black back and white chest, flanks and belly. The hen has a brown head with a crest, white chin and breast patches and a gray body. The drakes show no white on the head. Common Mergansers have a long slender appearance in flight.

Length: 25 1/2"
Weight: 2 1/2 lbs.

illustration of common merganser hen, drake, and eclipse drake

illustration of common merganser wings

This species is larger than the red-breasted merganser, and is one of the largest of our ducks. It is one of the last to migrate south, and is more common than the red-breasted merganser on inland waters.

Flocks move in "follow the leader" style, low over the water.

Common Merganser
illustration of typical common merganser flock patternillustration of common merganser in flightside view illustration of common merganser flying

The only call seems to be a startled croak.