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The Ivory Bill·Birds·Ducks & Grebes

Common Mergansers, Mergus merganser

Common mergansers in and flying over water

Common mergansers are diving ducks with sleek bodies and strong, webbed feet that are set far back on their bodies, aiding them in swimming and diving. They hunt underwater, using their long, serrated, sharp bills to catch fish and other aquatic prey. They also consume amphibians, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.

Common mergansers are often found in forested areas close to water, where they can easily access their preferred habitats across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Common mergansers prefer nesting near freshwater bodies such as rivers, lakes, and ponds and easy access to food.. Female mergansers build their nests in tree cavities or use abandoned nests of other birds. They line the nest with soft materials like down feathers. They also nest in wood duck boxes installed by hobbyist naturalists, which when installed and maintained correctly often achieve higher duckling survival rates than natural settings.  Common Merganser Duck Boxes

Female mergansers lay a clutch of 6-17 eggs. Incubation period ranges from 28 to 35 days. Once hatched, the mother leads her ducklings to water, often jumping from the nest, which can be located high above the ground. Young mergansers are capable of diving and foraging shortly after hatching.

Common Mergansers in North America migrate southwards during winter to coastal areas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as to large lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. In Europe, Common Mergansers migrate to coastal areas, estuaries, and inland lakes and rivers in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Scandinavia. Common Mergansers often gather in open water habitats where they can find ample fish and other aquatic prey. In Asia, Common Mergansers migrate to coastal areas, wetlands, rivers, and large lakes in countries such as Russia, China, Japan, and Korea.