I haven’t posted any Common Mergansers lately and today I thought I would because we should start seeing them soon here in northern Utah. I usually see Common Merganser drakes in higher numbers starting around the middle to the end of November but I haven’t seen many this year at all including early spring. Adult Common Merganser Drakes are mostly white, have dark backs and dark green heads that can almost look black in certain light or iridescent green in brighter light. They have dark eyes compared to the reddish eyes of drake Red-breasted Mergansers.
All mergansers have “saw bills” or bills with serrated edges that help them grip their prey. Common Mergansers are the largest of the three merganser species that inhabit North America.
The Common Merganser drake in the image above is missing its left foot but that doesn’t seem to prevent the merganser from fishing, thriving and surviving.
The Common Merganser drake above is an immature male going through its first winter and by its second winter it would look like the adult at the top. At this age they can look very much like Red-breasted Mergansers but can be told apart by the thicker, heavier bill, the bill color, darker eyes, their more rounded head and shorter crest.
I hope to see them again soon.
Life is good.