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Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage

Red-breasted Merganser


Wing Character Male Female
Adult Immature Immature Adult
Tertials Three or four most distal mostly white with wide black margins on outer webs; two more proximal are black; all have bluntly pointed tips Outer web of most distal is white with a wide black margin; others are dark gray with dark marginal stripes on one or more; tips are pointed and usually frayed More distal are gray- white with wide dark marginal stripes
Greater tertial coverts Most are white with smoothly rounded tips All are dark gray-black and taper to tips which are usually frayed All are shiny black with smoothly rounded tips
Greater secondary coverts Do not completely cover dark bases of secondaries on normally spread wing
Proximal 2/3 is white to tips Proximal 2/3 is white or gray at tips Proximal 2/3 is white with a black band (sometimes poorly defined) at tips
Middle and lesser secondary coverts Do not completely cover dark bases of greater coverts on normally spread wing
Entirely white Dark gray with females slightly darker than males Very dark gray to black


JPG-Adult male red-breasted merganser JPG-Adult female red-breasted merganser JPG-Immature red-breasted merganser

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