Hooded merganser

Kuifzaagbek of Kokardezaagbek

Hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

The Hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a small duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Kuifzaagbek of Kokardezaagbek
English name:
Hooded merganser
German name:
Kappensäger
French name:
Harle couronné
Scientific name:
Lophodytes cucullatus

Scientific classification

Order:
Anseriformes
Family:
Anatidae
Onderfamilie:
Merginae
Genus:
Lophodytes

Description

Description:

Male:
hooded mergansers have a large white crest surrounded by black. The top of the head, neck and back are all black, and the chest, breast and belly are white. Wavy black lines can be seen on the tawny sides and flanks. The hind back, rump and tail are dark brown. The long, narrow, serrated bill is black. The iris is bright yellow and the legs and feet are dull yellow.

Female:
have a gray-brown head and neck with a reddish-brown crest. Gray pervades their neck, chest, sides and flanks, and brownish-black dominates their back, rump and tail. The upper bill is black-edged with orange and the lower bill is yellow. The legs and feet are greenish in color and the iris is brown.

Juvenile:
Juvenile Females: have a gray-brown head and neck with. Gray pervades their neck, chest, sides and flanks, and brownish-black dominates their back, rump and tail. The upper bill is black-edged with orange and the lower bill is yellow. The legs and feet are greenish in color and the iris is brown. Looks like adult Female.

Juvenile Males:
Takes two years for them to get prime adult breeding plumage until then they appear as females with slight appearances and have a gray-brown head and neck with a few black feathers and white feathers threw out head and neck. Gray pervades their neck, chest, sides and flanks, and brownish-black dominates their back, rump and tail. The upper bill is black-edged with orange and the lower bill is yellow. The legs and feet are greenish in color and the iris is brownish Turning Yellow.

Behaviour:

Hooded Mergansers are clumsy, but quick, flyers. They take off by running on water, and they have a ceaseless and rapid wingbeat during flight. They land at high speeds and are often seen ‘skiing’ across the water to come to a stop. They dive well, holding their wings in close to their body and propelling themselves underwater with their feet. 

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Hooded merganser measures approximately 43-47 centimeters. The female measures approximately 43-47 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 650 gram. The female will weight about 550 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!
Note:

Hooded mergansers require a large area of deep (at least 80cm), clear water, with ice-free water maintained in winter. They can be kept in mixed collections but may bully smaller weaker species while nesting. 

Established pairs of these ducks usually breed. Infertility may be a problem, possibly due to males entering, and leaving, breeding condition earlier than females. Several pairs may be maintained in one enclosure, and if maintained in a group collective courting by drakes may be seen. A choice of several raised nest boxes should be provided for nesting, on posts over water, or on the banks, facing the pond and with ramps, 10cm wide, at an angle of 45 degrees, to just below the nest box entrance hole. Box size of 35cm by 30cm by 30cm suggested, with a circular entrance hole, 8cm diameter, close to the top of the box, and soil (5cm deep), peat (2.5cm deep) and a handful of dry grass in the bottom. An alternative design is to use a hollow log, 60-90cm high, provided with a roof and a ramp leading to a 7.5cm entrance hole close to the top; this may be set on a pole for greater height.

These ducks may also lay in boxes used by other species. Eggs are laid mainly April to May, and a second clutch may be laid if the first clutch of eggs is removed. Eggs may be incubated by mallards.

Ducklings are not considered easy to rear; there may be some difficulty in persuading incubator-hatched hand-reared ducklings to feed - livefood such as mealworms are useful to encourage feeding initially. A solitary duckling is unlikely to do well and should be placed with other, similar-sized ducklings. 

N.B. ducklings are very agile and are good climbers; rearing boxes should be covered with wire tops.

May hybridise with other mergansers and other Anatidae: hybrids reported with Redhead - Aythya americanaCommon goldeneye - Bucephala clangulaCommon merganser - Mergus merganserRed-breasted merganser - Mergus serrator, Wood Duck (Aix Sponsa).

Breeding:
The female Hooded merganser usually lays from 7-15 Shiny white eggs and incubates them for 28-30 days.

Bird banding:
Recommended leg band size for the Hooded merganser is 9 mm.
The leg band can only be applied on a young small duck at around 11 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it is good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Preferred food:
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Photos of the Hooded merganser

Videos of the Hooded merganser