Common Merganser

common merganser
Associated more with fresh than with salt water habitat, common mergansers have distinctive in-flight appearance.

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) is the largest merganser species, averaging only slightly smaller than the largest North American duck, the Common Eider. This species display a long, thin, serrated red bill with matching irises and legs. Common mergansers have an elegant-looking narrow head with a long neck that is normally pulled against the body in a snakey looking “S” shape. Common merganser drakes display black head lacking long crest that iridesce with green; cream-colored neck, underbelly, and vermiculated gray tail. Hens have a chestnut head with a white throat patch that abruptly changes to the silvery plumage of the rest of the body. Females also display a small crest that does not reach the front of their head.