The female will lay a clutch of 7-15 eggs but only begins incubation when the last egg has been laid, thereby permitting synchronous hatching. Hooded Mergansers are cavity nesters, frequently choosing trees that are close to ponds, marshes, swamps or streams. Once they leave the nest, the young are capable of diving and foraging, but remain with the female for warmth and protection. One priority consideration when managing wooded habitat for cavity nesting ducks, is to maintain a sufficient population of mature trees in which suitable nesting cavities would be plentiful. In addition it feeds on aquatic insects (13-20% of its diet) and other aquatic invertebrates such as crabs and crayfish (22-50%).. It has been suggested that in recent years proper timber management is increasing available habitat successfully. A species of fossil merganser from the Late Pleistocene of Vero Beach, Florida, was described as Querquedula floridana (a genus now included in Anas), but upon reexamination turned out to be a species closely related to the hooded merganser; it is now named Lophodytes floridanus, but the exact relationship between this bird and the modern species is unknown. Furthermore, the young birds have narrower white edges to their tertial feathers than adults do. His lower flanks are a rich reddish-brown or chestnut in colour, and the breast and undersides are more or less white, extending into white stripes across the crop and breast. Hooded mergansers are short-distance migrants, and they winter in the United States in regions where winter temperatures allow for ice-free conditions on ponds, lakes and rivers.  Small numbers are seen regularly in Dublin, but these are presumed to be escapes. The hooded merganser is a diving predator that largely hunts by sight while under water. Females often lay eggs in each others' nests, also in nests of Wood Ducks and others. This is called “brood parasitism” and is similar to the practice of Brown-headed Cowbirds, except that the ducks only lay eggs in nests of their own species. After that, the male leaves the female to incubate and care for the brood. In breeding plumage the dorsal areas and the head, neck and breast of the mature male are mainly black with white markings; there are large white patches on either side of the crest, and they are particularly conspicuous when he raises his crest during courtship. In both sexes there are narrow white stripes along the tertial wing feathers; when the bird is in repose they have the appearance of longitudinal white stripes along the bird's lower back, if they are visible. (2009). Hooded Merganser on North Uist: a return to the British List, Dugger, B.D., K.M. Males and females of the hooded merganser form monogamous pairs and they remain together until the female has selected a nesting cavity and completed laying her clutch. She has a light reddish-brown crest extending from the back of the head. Breeding occurs anytime between the end of February and the end of June, depending on the region. The adult female has a greyish-brown body, with a narrow white patch over the lower breast and belly. Hooded mergansers are the second smallest species of merganser, with only the smew of Europe and Asia being smaller, and it also is the only merganser whose native habitat is restricted to North America. Females will actively seek out cavities in dead trees or artificial nest boxes such as those provided for nesting wood ducks. , Population declines in the past have been linked with large scale deforestation. Incubation is by female only, 26-41 days, usually about 33 days. Her eye is reddish brown and bill edged with yellow. They also breed to some extent in regions from Missouri to southern Canada and from Nova Scotia to eastern North Dakota and Saskatchewan, migrating when necessary to avoid winter conditions. The hooded merganser was one of the many bird species originally described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae, where it was given the binomial name Mergus cucullatus.. , For preference the hooded merganser lives on small bodies of water such as ponds and small estuaries where there is ample emergent aquatic vegetation, but it also inhabits larger wetlands, impoundments, flooded timber, and rivers. "A comparison of wooden boxes and plastic buckets as waterfowl nest structures. , Because of their high reliance on aquatic prey, hooded mergansers are very susceptible to harm from many types of pollution, some of which are poisons that accumulate in the food organisms, directly poisoning predators high in the food chain, and some of which simply reduce the populations of their prey. Nests in cavities. She can also raise her crest They nest in trees in woodland  In addition these ducks do make use of artificial nest boxes when available. Breeding males have showy black and white crest, a couple zebra stripes on their white breast, and chestnut sides. One is in the eastern United States from the southern Canada–US border along the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast in the region of the Mississippi delta. , Rabbitss, Brian (2009).  The bird is striking in appearance; both sexes have crests that they can raise or lower, and the breeding plumage of the male is handsomely patterned and coloured. The female Hooded Merganser has a grey-brown body and ginger "hair". They prefer fresh water but do occur on brackish water bodies as well.. Because these waterfowl are cavity nesters, they require mature trees in which suitable nesting sites are likely to be found. They compete with Wood Ducks for nest boxes put out by humans, and females of both species may lay eggs in the same nest, with one or the other incubating the eggs. The hooded merganser is a sexually dimorphic species. Along with Wood Ducks and other cavity-nesting ducks, Hooded Mergansers often lay their eggs in other females’ nests. Most studies report that its diet varies according to circumstances, usually being dominated by fishes (44-81%). Females and immatures are gray and brown, with warm tawny-cinnamon tones on the head. The hooded merganser is a sexually dimorphic species. It is the only extant species in the genus Lophodytes. Sometimes they will nest some distance from the water, but generally they really like boxes over the water. Like most waterfowl, hooded merganser hatchlings are precocial and usually leave the nest within 24 hours after they hatch; this is about long enough to accommodate synchronous hatching. All hatchlings are consequently of the same size, which facilitates efficient parental care. The hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a species of merganser. The genus name derives from the Greek language: lophos meaning 'crest', and dutes meaning 'diver'. She has a light reddish-brown crest extending from the back of the head. Britain's current first accepted record is a bird which was seen on North Uist in October 2000. Small duck; feeds by diving to catch mainly fish with thin, serrated bill. The black head has a large white patch that varies in size when the crest is raised or lowered, but is always prominent. The ideal size for the entrance hole is 8cm. 8–12 white eggs are incubated for 32 to 33 days by the female alone. During incubation, the female may lose anywhere from 8% to 16% of her body weight. They prefer cavities 4–15 feet off the ground. The hooded merganser has a sawbill but is not classified as a typical merganser. Although the hooded merganser is a common species in captivity in Europe and most specimens recorded in the wild are regarded as escapes, a small number of birds have been regarded as genuinely wild vagrants. © Noah Frade | Macaulay Library ", "Waterfowl of North America: Name Derivations", "Hooded Merganser Fact Sheet, Lincoln Park Zoo", "Hooded Merganser Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology", http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hooded_Merganser/id, http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/hooded_merganser, http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/bna/species/098, http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lophodytes_cucullatus/, https://seaduckjv.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/home_sppfactsheet.pdf, Champoux L. PCBs, dioxins and furans in Hooded Merganser (, Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas - Hooded merganser, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hooded_merganser&oldid=990047892, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 22 November 2020, at 14:17. Females and immature males are brown overall with a puffy crest and a thin orange stripe along the bottom of the bill.
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