Hooded Merganser

About the Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser is a small bird in the duck family. They are named for the large head crest that can be expanded or contracted. In males the crest has a large white patch which makes these birds relatively easy to ID in the field. Females also have a head crest, but it is reddish; overall the females are duller than male Hooded Mergansers.

Hooded Mergansers nest in tree holes and during breeding season are found mostly in wooded freshwater ponds.

They range over much of North America, with year-round populations in both the southeast of the United States and the southwest of Canada. Migratory populations summer in the south of the U.S. and along much of the west coast.

Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks that feed on small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects underwater.

Find cute products & gifts with our Birdorable Hooded Merganser

Details & Statistics


The Hooded Merganser is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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Related Articles

Baby Birdorable: Hooded Merganser

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Hooded Merganser. Hooded Mergansers breed in swamps or wooded ponds in the northern U.S. or southern Canada. They are cavity nesters,...  Read more »