USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Waterfowl Identification in the Central Flyway

Common Merganser (Fish Duck, Sawbill)


Male - Winter

GIF -- Picture of Male Common Merganser-Winter

Body: Large bird, up to 3 1/4 pounds, 25 inches long. Black back. Belly, chest and sides white, tinted with pink. Greenish black head with narrow, serrated dusky red bill. Eyes reddish brown. Feet reddish. Wings: Middle coverts creamy white. Speculum white with black leading edge. Tertials pale creamy yellow; remainder blackish. Voice: Hoarse croak. In Flight: Elongated white body contrasts with dark head. Rapid wingbeat.

Male - Fall

GIF -- Picture of Male Common Merganser-Fall

Ranging from mottled gray, black and white body with black-streaked cinnamon brown head to near-winter coloration. Belly white. Feet, eyes, bill and wings same as in winter.

Female - All Seasons

GIF -- Picture of Female Common Merganser

Body: Mottled gray with white chest and belly. Head reddish brown with crest. Whitish chin. Bill and feet similar to male but dull red. Wings: Coverts and tertials grayish. White speculum with black leading edge; remainder black. Voice: Horse croak.

GIF -- Picture of Common Mergansers in Flight


Previous Section -- Hooded Merganser
Return to Contents
Next Section -- White-fronted Goose

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/waterfwl/commonm.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 20:02:46 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww55]