Hooded merganser in exhibit

Hooded Merganser

Scientific Name

Mergus cucullatus

Class

Aves

Order

Anseriformes

Range

Southern Canada and throughout the United States

Habitat

Large lakes, rivers, coastal lagoons, and estuaries

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Hooded merganser in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Hooded mergansers are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females differ in appearance. Females have a brown body, a white underside, and a light brown crest that extends from the back of their head. Males look similar during non-breeding season, except for their yellow plumage, but during breeding season, they turn black with white stripes near their chest and tail.

Interesting Fact 1

Hooded mergansers have a nictitating membrane, a transparent eyelid that protects their eyes and enables them to see better while diving underwater, which helps with hunting.

Interesting Fact 2

Within 24 hours of hatching, they can dive and feed themselves, although they remain with their mother for another five weeks.

Interesting Fact 3

During breeding season, males develop a white crest on the back of their head that is prominently spread and raised during courtship.

Animal Care staff working with seal

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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