Monday, June 13, 2016

Red-breasted Merganser

We photographed this handsome, hen Red-breasted Merganser on 23 March 3026 in Florida's St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. This duck can be hard to differentiate from Common Mergansers—the brown head and the white breast are not as abruptly contrasting and the bills are thinner in the Red-breasted. Compare this hen to a female Common Merganser in my 2011 post.

Both mergansers occur during migration in Minnesota. Red-breasted Mergansers winter along the coast of North America, while Common Mergansers do not venture into the southeastern states. On the other hand, Red-breasted Mergansers breed further north than do Commons. One consequence of these differences is that relatively little is known about Red-breasted Merganser biology (Craik et al. 2015).

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