The Common Merganser, also known as the Goosander, is a large diving duck that can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. This bird measures approximately 23-28 inches in length, with a wingspan of 35-42 inches. Adult males weigh between 2.2-3.3 pounds, while adult females weigh between 1.8-2.6 pounds.
The Common Merganser is easily distinguishable by its long, slender, red bill with a hooked tip, and its sleek, white body with black wings and a black back. The male has a greenish-black head with a white neck and breast, while the female has a reddish-brown head and a grayish-brown body with a white belly. Juveniles resemble females but have a darker bill and reddish-brown eyes.
This species is migratory, with North American populations breeding in northern Canada and Alaska, and wintering along the coasts of the United States and Mexico. European populations breed in northern and eastern Europe and Asia, and winter in southern Europe and northern Africa. Asian populations breed in Siberia and Mongolia and winter in eastern China, Korea, and Japan.
Common Mergansers prefer to nest near water, typically in tree cavities or on the ground. They are often found in freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands, but can also be found in saltwater habitats such as coastal estuaries and bays. Their diet consists mainly of fish, but they also consume crustaceans, insects, and amphibians.
Overall, the Common Merganser is a fascinating species of waterfowl that can be found in a variety of habitats across three continents. Its distinctive appearance and migratory behavior make it a popular bird for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.