Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus (Mergus cucullatus)


enlarge +

Hooded Merganser, male
credit: de:Benutzer:BS Thurner Hof /CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has large crest that can be flattened or fanned, presenting a large, gleaming white patch on otherwise dark head. Bill is dark and note beady yellow eye. Back is mainly dark and breast is white, marked with two black lines on sides, separating breast from otherwise orange-brown flanks. Eclipse male is similar to adult female, but with duller colors; retains bright eye. ADULT FEMALE Orange-buff head with long, shaggy crest. Plumage is otherwise mainly gray-brown, darkest on back; belly is white. Eye is dark. JUVENILE Similar to adult female.

Dimensions Length: 16-19" (41-48 cm)

Habitat In summer, found in forested wetlands; nests in tree holes. Outside breeding season, most birds move to southeast wetlands, favoring freshwater sites.

Observation Tips Typically shy during breeding season; easier to observe in winter although still has retiring habits.

Range Northwest, Florida, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Southeast, Southwest, California, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Western Canada, Plains, New England

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Small, bizarrely shaped diving duck with slender bill and large head. Dives frequently in search of small fish and invertebrates. Male is unmistakable; size, proportions, and color in female are good means of identification.