Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) has a black head and neck. As a distinctive sign, this duck wears a crest and displays a big white triangle behind its yellow eye. The hooded merganser's back is black and changing to brown close to its rump, its fore wings are grey, its flanks reddish brown and its chest and stomach white. Two little arcs extending towards the chest are present on each side of the shoulders. This duck has a hooked beak and teeth to catch crayfish, snails, frogs, tadpoles, aquatic insects and little fish. It also eats seeds and aquatic plants.

The hooded merganser lives in small lakes, beaver ponds, peat bogs, swamps, rivers and forest streams where the water is clear. It loves the north east humid zones of the United States that are located south of Canada and east of Mississippi. It is usually found in western Québec or in the mid part of the province and rarely in the east of the Saguenay River. It migrates early when ponds start freezing.

During the nesting period, it builds its nest in holes dug by woodpeckers in trees and stumps. The female lays 5 to 12 eggs which she will sit on and raise alone. The female hooded merganser is part of those species that lay eggs in nests of congeners and even in nests of other types of ducks like the wood duck and the common goldeneye. It can even raise two species at the same time. X