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.



  1. Ingrid December 6, 2012 at 3:16 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson December 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Ingrid, I love their shaggy hairdos too! And those saw bills. I keep looking for the Hoodies but haven’t been as fortunate as you!

  2. Wally November 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:35 am

      Thanks Wally, the light and the bird were wonderful.

  3. Humming Bird Lover November 28, 2012 at 8:09 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:35 am

      I’m so happy you enjoy the daily photos Mom!

  4. Doug Robberson November 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:34 am

      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. Rohrerbot November 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    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:)

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:30 am

      Chris, I always take images of birds that are near too, I’m addicted to bird photography! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Bob Bushell November 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Brilliant photo of the Merganser, cheers Mia.

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:29 am

      Thanks Bob, it was a beautiful bird.

  7. Prairie Birder November 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The colors are so beautiful and soft!

  8. Syl Lobato November 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    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. Laurence Butler November 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

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

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:27 am

      Thanks Laurence, I loved the colors reflected in the water too.

  10. M. Firpi November 27, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Whar wonderful colours and plumage!

    • Mia McPherson November 29, 2012 at 4:26 am

      Thanks Maria, this male would be even more colorful in breeding plumage

Comments are closed.