Where Spotted: Byrd Park
Common Name: Hooded Merganser
Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus
Length: 15.8-19.3 in (40-49 cm)
Weight: 16.0-31.0 oz (453-879 g)
Wingspan: 23.6-26.0 in (60-66 cm)
Quick Facts courtesy of Cornell Lab
- Along with Wood Ducks and other cavity-nesting ducks, Hooded Mergansers often lay their eggs in other females’ nests. This is called “brood parasitism” and is similar to the practice of Brown-headed Cowbirds, except that the ducks only lay eggs in nests of their own species. Female Hooded Mergansers can lay up to about 13 eggs in a clutch, but nests have been found with up to 44 eggs in them.
- Hooded Mergansers find their prey underwater by sight. They can actually change the refractive properties of their eyes to improve their underwater vision. In addition, they have an extra eyelid, called a “nictitating membrane,” which is transparent and helps protect the eye during swimming, like a pair of goggles.
- Hooded Merganser ducklings leave their nest cavity within 24 hours of hatching. First, their mother checks the area around the nest and calls to the nestlings from ground level. From inside the nest, the little fluffballs scramble up to the entrance hole and then flutter to the ground, which may be 50 feet or more below them. In some cases they have to walk half a mile or more with their mother to the nearest body of water.
- On the bird family tree, Hooded Mergansers (genus Lophodytes) lie between goldeneyes (Bucephala) and the other North American mergansers (Mergus). They share many courtship behaviors and calls with both of those groups.
- The Hooded Merganser is the second-smallest of the six living species of mergansers (only the Smew of Eurasia is smaller) and is the only one restricted to North America.
- The oldest recorded Hooded Merganser was a male and at least 14 years, 6 months old when he was shot in Mississippi in 2009. He had been banded in Minnesota in 1995.
Halle Berry at RACC
Halle is a little sad and overwhelmed here at the shelter. Her owner recently passed away and she is in need of a home to live out her senior years.
Primary Color: Tortoiseshell
Secondary Color: White
Pet ID: 87848
Due to COVID-19, the shelter is currently closed and adoptions are scheduled by appointment only. Adoptions are scheduled on a first come, first serve or best fit basis.
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