Male Common Merganser in nonbreeding plumage

Common Merganser male in nonbreeding plumageCommon Merganser male in nonbreeding plumage – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Last week I saw quite a few Common Mergansers at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge but I wasn’t able to get close enough to them to get any quality images but they reminded me of images I had been able to take of Common Mergansers several years ago at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area.

This is a male Common Merganser in nonbreeding plumage, if he were in breeding plumage his sides would be nearly all white and his head a very dark green.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. I get excited when I see mergansers. I love their behavior, their coloration, their hairdos. This image captures the plumage perfectly. Today, I saw a too-distant flock of Barrow’s Goldeneyes, common here in the winter. I took one shot just for ID purposes and when I offloaded it, I noticed a solitary male Hooded Merganser hanging out in the raft. It was a delightful surprise.

  2. Great image of a male in non-breeding plumage with that characteristic white wing patch. Really nice light you had!

  3. Humming Bird Lover

    Hi! what a perfect picture! Colors are so great! enjoy your daily pic’s so much! I love the water birds

  4. Nice picture of a female Common Mergansers. Mergansers do not change their plumage colors seasonally.

    • Hi Doug, the males in all three of the Merganser species (Hooded, Common and Red-breasted) that are found on North America change plumage seasonally, the big Sibley Guide to Birds illustrates that well. A female Common Merganser would not have the white wing patch that my male bird displays. Thanks for your comment.

  5. These are such beautiful birds. I always snap shots of a bird when it’s near because I don’t know if I’ll get a good one the next time:)

  6. Brilliant photo of the Merganser, cheers Mia.

  7. The colors are so beautiful and soft!

  8. what a delightful photo..I did not know they change colors like this..we don’t have them stay in Pagosa Country very long..thanks for sharing a beautiful photo..

  9. Fabulous! I love all the wintery colors in the image too.

  10. Whar wonderful colours and plumage!

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