Common Merganser

The common merganser, also known as the goosander, is a large species of duck that can be found in North America and Eurasia. With its unique appearance and interesting behaviors, this bird has captured the attention of many bird enthusiasts. In this post, we will explore everything you need to know about the common merganser.

Basic Description

The common merganser is a diving duck with a long, slender body that can grow up to 25 inches in length. The males have striking black and white plumage on their heads and bodies while females have more muted gray-brown feathers. Both sexes have red bills with serrated edges for catching fish underwater.

Where To Find This Bird

The common merganser can be found throughout North America and Eurasia during non-breeding season but migrates to northern regions during breeding season. Look for them in freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers or streams where they feed on fish.


Common Mergansers prefer areas with clear water; therefore, they are often seen near sources like springs or waterfalls which provide ideal conditions for hunting fish. They tend to nest in tree cavities close to water sources such as ponds or rivers so they can easily access food for their young hatchlings.


Unlike other ducks who primarily feed on plants or insects, Common Mergansers rely heavily on fish as their main food source due to their unique bill structure that allows them to catch prey underwater swiftly without breaking it apart beforehand- making it much easier than other birds of similar size!

Cool Facts About Common Mergansers:

  • Their scientific name “Mergus” means ‘diving’ from Latin.
  • They are one of the largest species of duck in North America.
  • Males court females by flapping their wings and making a low croaking sound.
  • Common mergansers are sometimes referred to as “sawbills” because of their serrated bills used for catching fish underwater.

In conclusion, the Common Merganser is an interesting bird species that has adapted unique behaviors and characteristics due to its reliance on fish as a primary food source. Its striking plumage and diving prowess make it a popular sighting among bird enthusiasts worldwide. Keep your eyes open next time you’re near freshwater habitats like rivers or lakes, and hopefully, you’ll catch a glimpse of one!