Hooded Merganser

hooded merganserHooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is the smallest North American merganser. They are characterized by their black, needle-nosed pliers-like bill, a black mohawk with a “D” of white plumage within, and bright yellow eyes. The chest is white with two collars of black plumage sectioning off the ruffous brown sides. The pitch-black wings adorned with a white speculum creates a streaking effect down their back. Females also display the mohawk plumage that is brown/gray with a light chestnut brushed near the top. The rest of the body plumage matches the brown/gray of the head except their white underbelly. Juvenile hooded mergansers closely resemble hens without the longer feathers on the head.