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 Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Birds of America, 1917


Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Lophodytes
Species: cucullatus


La. anser  goose
La. forma  form, shape, kind
Gr. anous  foolish
La. anas  duck
Gr. lophos  crest
Gr. cucullus  hood
La. cuculatus  hooded
About 19 inches long. Black upper parts with a white fan shaped patch centered on a flat disk-like crest. Brownish tinge on the wings and tail. White underside with chestnut flanks.

Inhabits woodlands bordering rivers and ponds throughout most of eastern U.S., and Canada in the Hudson Bay region and as far west as British Columbia. It nests from about 45 degrees latitude north to the Arctic Circle. Common throughout the lower Mississippi River Valley in winter and some migrate as far as Mexico and the Caribbean.

USGS Hooded Merganser Map

Lines a tree or stump cavity with grass, leaves and down.

Lays five to eighteen ivory white eggs which hatch after about one month of incubation.

The female parent coaxes the young out of the nest to water, teaches them to swim, dive, gather food and defends them until they are ready to fly at about two months age.

Dives for small fish, insects, roots and seeds.

The Hooded Merganser Nestbox (same as for the Wood Duck and Kestrel ) has a 10" by 10" floor, " inside ceiling
, 4" wide by 3" high entrance hole located 19" above the floor and ventilation openings.

Assembled with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes.  Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks for easy access.

Hooded Merganser Nest Box Plans
Hooded Merganser
Nest Box Plans


Mount 10 feet or higher on a tree trunk, lower if on a steel post, in forest bottomlands within 100 feet of a river or a pond. Place some wood chips on the floor. Squirrels may use this box.

Eastern Screech Owls and Western Screech Owls may use this nestbox.


Hooded Mergansers, Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Louis Agassiz Fuertes


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