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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

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