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Common Merganser

Mergus merganser

Photo © by Mike Plagens

These female Common Mergansers were photographed at an urban pond in Scottsdale, Arizona, 7 Feb. 2009.

Photo © by Mike Plagens

The merganser in the lead has caught a fish and the other is chasing madly in an attempt to steal it.

Mergansers are designed for diving and catching fish. The margins of the bill are serrated, helping to hold slick prey. In the Common Merganser the beak is red-orange and sharply hooked. The head of females is rusty brown while the males have emerald green feathers on the head. In both sexes a tuft of feathers protrudes from the scruff of the neck. Found on ponds and slow rivers in the Sonoran Desert during the winter months. This piscivorous duck ranges across much of North America as well as Eurasia.

Winter Resident - Migration to northern North America for summer months

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009