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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Common Merganser (Mergus Merganser americanus)

Here's another addition to the roll call of winter residents, A small flock of Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser americanus) who paused near the shore to do their morning toilette. Later in the year, during breeding season, the males wear quite a distinctive plumage but at this time of year these birds pretty much all look the same whether they are male, female or juveniles. In January of this year I posted a photo of these mergansers with the male in breeding dress. These are the most common of three types of mergansers we regularly see here. The other two are the Hooded Merganser and (much less often) the Red Breasted Merganser.

5 comments:

Paul in Powell River said...

I'll give you 5-to-1 that the 3rd bird from the right is a Red-breasted - the spikey hairdo is a dead give-away! :D

Benjamin Madison said...

Hi Paul, You could well be right. However, I just checked some of the other photos in the series and the distinguishing features between the Common and the Red Breasted are a little clearer on other shots. Most (if not all) of the birds in this group show a clear demarcation between their rufous necks and white breasts typical of the Common Mergansers whereas the Red-breasted neck color blends into the breast. It's pretty subtle in any case....

AS for Kingfishers being hard to photograph, I agree completely have never yet really captured a photo of one to my satisfaction.

Dean Lewis said...

I've always liked the windswept look of mergansers. Did not realize they have the orange feet, much like the pigeon guillemot and oystercatchers.

JoJo said...

Very pretty birds!

Jayne said...

Wow, how have I not seen this blog before?? Awesome!