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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sweet and Small

Hooded Merganser
Lophodytes cucullatus

Smallest of the mergansers in North America

(please click on pictures to enlarge)
Male, in his breeding plumage
with his white crest raised.

The Hooded Mergansers are a fish-eating duck
and find the fish by sight when they dive
underwater. They also eat frogs, newts, tadpoles
and aquatic insects.

They will most likely remain
here for the summer preferring
small, calm wooded lakes
or beaver ponds for breeding.

Mr. and Mrs. Merganser

They have a wonderful courtship ritual,
primarily performed by the male,
which includes crest raising, head-shaking,
head-pumping and short flight displays.
In the northern latitudes,
they begin nesting in early April to early May
and make their nests in tree hollows or nest boxes
lined with downy feathers from the
belly of the female.