Bob Moul Nature Photography. Avibase Lepage Denis. Bird Web Seattle Audubon Society.
Red-breasted mergansers have a holarctic distribution; they are found throughout much of the northern hemisphere. Red-breasted mergansers have distinct breeding and wintering ranges, although they overlap somewhat in northern, coastal areas. In the Americas they breed from Alaska throughout northern, boreal Canada to the maritime provinces and into the northern United States: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Maine.
Photos we are missing. The Red-breasted Merganser has a large range, estimated globally at 10, square kilometers. Native to North America, Europe and Asia, this bird prefers inland wetland and neritic or coastal marine ecosystems.
View all Diving. The breeding range of the red-breasted merganser generally extends farther north and not as far south as the common merganser. The principal region of overlap is in southeastern and southern Canada.
The ragged-crested Red-breasted Merganser winters in Washington but breeds farther to the north. The adult male in breeding plumage has a reddish-brown mottled breast, white neck collar, green head, and red eyes. The serrate orange bill is very thin.
Forages by diving and swimming underwater. Sometimes a group appears to hunt cooperatively, several birds lining up and driving schools of small fish into very shallow water, where the mergansers scoop them up without diving. Females sometimes lay eggs in each others' nests, occasionally in nests of other ducks.
Red-breasted mergansers are large diving ducks with long, thin bills lined with serrated edges to help in capturing fish prey. Males are larger than females. Lengths range from 51 to 64 cm and weights from to g.
Red-breasted mergansers can be identified in flight by their white wing patches, long reddish bill and white neck on males. Image courtesy Muchaxo, Flickr. In flight, all mergansers hold their bill, head, body and tail straight.
The red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator is a diving duckone of the sawbills. The genus name is a Latin word used by Pliny and other Roman authors to refer to an unspecified waterbird, and serrator is a sawyer from Latin serra"saw". The red-breasted merganser was one of the many bird species originally described by Linnaeus in the landmark 10th edition of his Systema Naturaewhere it was given the binomial name of Mergus serrator.
Click for a larger version or to add map overlays Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator [Fact box] Print Click on plot to view table of mean abundance Elevation range: 0 - m Conserv. Canada - 3. Characteristics and Range This medium-sized, fish-eating duck with its long, shaggy crest is familiar on British Columbia coasts in winter. The Red-breasted Merganser has a wide distribution in boreal forest and tundra of the Northern Hemisphere.