An elegant little
Merganser, Hooded Mergansers are the smallest of the Mergansers in the state.
The male's crest may be either raised or flattened. The species
declined significantly by the first half of the twentieth century, but as
they are cavity nesters that use similar habitats as
Wood Ducks, they have significantly
benefited from the vast number of Wood Duck boxes erected over the last few
Habitat: Definite preference for wooded areas
(forested wetlands, swamps, forested river and lake shores), but that may be
due to its need for nest cavities. They will nest in more open
habitats if nest boxes are erected.
Diet: Mostly fish, also mussels,
snails, salamanders, and occasionally plant material.
Behavior: Obtains nearly all its food by diving
underwater, propelling itself with its feet in search of prey.
Nesting: May through June
Song: Grunts and chatting
Migration: Not a long-distance migrant, summering
in the Northern U.S. and southern Canada, and wintering in the Southern and
Nestboxes: Will utilize Wood Duck nest boxes.
Conservation Status: Becoming increasingly
common as they've adapted to nesting in Wood Duck boxes.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Hooded Merganser"
eNature.com: Hooded Merganser
Photo Information: November 9, 2002 -- Lake Yankton,
below Gavin's Point Dam -- Terry L. Sohl