An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Hooded Mergansers & Feeding Adaptations

4-16-14 female hooded merg eating fish IMG_9199Although most of New England has Hooded Mergansers year round, we see them most frequently in the spring and fall, when Canadian-nesting individuals are migrating north. They stop to re-fuel in wetlands where they are well adapted for capturing and eating fish, insects and crayfish. The nature of the changes their eye lenses can make, coupled with the high degree of transparency of the membrane that covers their eyes under water give them superior vision under water. Their success in holding onto the struggling prey they capture is greatly increased by the serrated edges of their slender bill. (Photo: female Hooded Merganser)

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9 responses

  1. Great photo Mary! That looks like a good meal fora hungry merganser!

    April 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm

  2. Bill On The Hill...

    Wow, what a shot! It appears to have a “mouthful”? BF…

    April 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm

  3. dellwvt

    What a fabulous photo! Are mergansers in the duck family?

    April 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    • Yes, they are in the subfamily Merginae (scoters, eiders, mergansers, etc.), of the family Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans),

      April 16, 2014 at 2:58 pm

  4. That meal should certainly fill her belly!

    April 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm

  5. Amazing shot!

    April 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm

  6. Connie Youngstrom

    A pair were resting at our nearby beaver pond the other day. I am hoping that they will stay around.

    April 26, 2014 at 3:28 pm

  7. Kyle

    Amazing capture here! In the photo is that a younger female I’m curious, also can she really consume that big (and frantic!) looking fish?? Does the fish put up any fight and does it get swallowed wriggling the whole way/time?! Keep up the interesting photos! 😉

    December 5, 2014 at 2:41 am

    • Yes, I believe it’s a juvenile bird (not sure of gender). Not sure how much of a struggle it gives as it’s being swallowed, but it was swallowed!

      December 5, 2014 at 5:26 pm

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