Red-breasted Merganser

Mergus serrator

Description 4

The adult red-breasted merganser is 51–62 cm (20–24 in) long with a 70–86 cm (28–34 in) wingspan. It has a spiky crest and long thin red bill with serrated edges. The male has a dark head with a green sheen, a white neck with a rusty breast, a black back, and white underparts. Adult females have a rusty head and a greyish body. The juvenile is like the female, but lacks the white collar and has a smaller white wing patch.

The call of the female is a rasping prrak prrak, while the male gives a feeble hiccup-and-sneeze display call.

Taxon biology 5

The red-breasted merganser is a decorative bird, with its spiky head crest and contrasting red bill. It dives down to 4 meters to catch fish, using its eyes to find them. The bill with its serrated teeth is ideal for holding onto its slippery prey. It's not hard to understand that clear clean water is very important for the red-breasted merganser. It breeds primarily in lakes in Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia.The nest is well hidden in thick reed vegetation. Since the 1980s, red-breasted mergansers have also been breeding in the Netherlands.

Speed record 4

The fastest duck ever recorded was a red-breasted merganser that attained a top airspeed of 100 mph while being pursued by an airplane. This eclipsed the previous speed record held by a canvasback clocked at 72 mph.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Robert Keereweer, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  2. (c) BiteYourBum.Com Photography, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  3. (c) BiteYourBum.Com Photography, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  4. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  5. (c) Copyright Ecomare, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),

More Info

Range Map

iNatCA Map

Color black, brown, red, white
Animal Bird
Bird Anatidae (ducks geese & swans)