My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus

The Hooded Merganser is a small duck and is the only member of the genus Lophodytes.

Hooded Mergansers have a crest at the back of the head which can be expanded or contracted. In adult males, this crest has a large white patch, the head is black and the sides of the duck are reddish-brown. The adult female has a reddish crest, with much of the rest of the head and body a greyish-brown. The Hooded Merganser has a sawbill but is not classified as a typical merganser.

Hooded Mergansers are the second smallest species of merganser, with only the Smew of Europe and Asia being smaller, and is also the only Merganser whose native habitat is restricted to North America.

Their preferred habitat for breeding is in swamps and wooded ponds of the northern half of the United States and southern Canada. They prefer to nest in tree cavities near water, but will use Wood Duck nesting boxes if available and unoccupied. They form pairs in early winter. The male leaves the female soon after she lays her eggs, leaving her responsible for all incubation. After hatching, chicks leave the nest with their mother within 24 hours; they are already able to dive and feed themselves, although they remain with their mother for another five weeks.

Hooded Mergansers are short-distance migrants, and winter in the United States wherever winter temperatures allow for ice-free conditions on ponds, lakes and rivers.

These ducks feed by diving and swimming under water to collect small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. They find their prey underwater by sight.

On to my photos:

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Male hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Female hooded merganser

Hooded merganser pair

Hooded merganser pair

Hooded merganser pair

Hooded merganser pair

Hooded merganser pair

Hooded merganser pair

This is number 85 in my photo life list, only 265 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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3 responses

  1. Was it snowing when you took those last 3 shots? Looks like it, or maybe rain.

    April 15, 2013 at 6:13 am

    • Yes, those are from yesterday, you’ll read the story in a few days when I post it.

      April 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

  2. Pingback: Pickerel Lake in November | Quiet Solo Pursuits