Snake River Bird Watching & Photography Reveal Common Mergansers

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Our uncommon journey float down the Snake River was a rich environment for bird watching and photography. Here I captured several photos of the Common Merganser. Most of these are female shown with the rusty red head. More information, gathered online tells us: the long, narrow bill with serrated edges readily distinguishes mergansers from all other ducks. Common mergansers are among the largest ducks, but are less stocky. Female common mergansers have a tufted red-brown head that is clearly defined from the lower neck by a clear whitish chin. The back and sides are silver-gray and the breast and belly are white. The bill is red with a blackish culmen and nail. The legs and feet are deep red. In flight, they appear more elongated than other ducks, flying in trailing lines close to the water’s surface. Male common mergansers have a greenish-black crested head and upper neck. The lower neck, breast and underparts are creamy-white with a variable pink wash. They have black backs and upperwing coverts with white scapulars. The bill is red with a blackish culmen and nail. The legs and feet are a deep red. Populations are thought to be stable. Common mergansers eat mainly fish, amphibians, crustaceans by diving underwater in marine and freshwater habitats.

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