Hooded merganser in exhibit

Hooded Merganser

Scientific Name
Mergus cucullatus
Southern Canada and throughout the United States
Large lakes, rivers, coastal lagoons, and estuaries
Estimated Wild Population
Hooded merganser in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

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.

Did You Know?

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.

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

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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