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Waterfowl Identification in the Central Flyway

Hooded Merganser (Fish Duck, Sawbill)

Male - Winter

GIF -- Picture of Male Hooded Merganser-Winter

Body: Small bird, up to 1 1/4 pounds, 17 1/2 inches long. Black body with two prominent black bars between chest and sides. White belly. Vermiculated tan sides. Dark greenish black head with distinct hood and fan-shaped white area. Eyes yellow. Bill blackish, narrow and serrated. Feet dull yellowish olive. Wings: Lesser and middle coverts gray, greater coverts, secondaries and tertials black and white; remainder dark. Voice: Series of course grunts. In Flight: Small size. Rapid wingbeat. White head-patch and belly contrast with dark head.

Male - Fall

GIF -- Picture of Male Hooded Merganser-Fall

Ranging from blotchy brown, black and white to near-winter coloration. Belly white. Hood present but lacking distinct white pattern. Eyes, feet, bill and wings same as in winter.

Female - All Seasons

GIF -- Picture of Female Hooded Merganser

Body: Dark back with chest and sides mottled gray. Belly white. Hood rusty. Eyes yellow-brown. Narrow, serrated blackish bill with yellow or orange tinge. Feet greenish brown. Wings: Similar to male but with less white. Coverts brown instead of gray. Voice: Rough grunt.

GIF -- Picture of Hooded Mergansers in Flight

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