Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

Ordered Merganser – male

Hooded Merganser –  female

It is early winter and this is the time when the Hooded Mergansers start pairing up for the for the coming year's mating season.  The mergansers can be found in winter on freshwater ponds and streams, marshes and protected saltwater bays.  The males will court  the females by rising up the water spreading their white crests and making low groaning sounds.
Hooded Merganser - mating display

Just like wood ducks, hooded mergansers nest in tree cavities and will be even use wood duck boxes, if they are not occupied.

They feed by diving for fish, crayfish, and other food which they will grab in their serrated bills.
Hooded Merganser, female with fish

A great location to view and photograph the Hooded Mergansers is Town Brook Park in Plymouth, Massachusetts, site of The Jenney Grist Mill, where Jenney Pond (Ams House Pond) is located.  You are able to see the mergansers feeding and displaying.