The Hooded Merganser (Photo: AGFC)
Male and female Hooded Mergansers. (Photo: AGFC)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The "Bird of the Week" for this week is the Hooded Merganser.
Hooded Mergansers are a small waterfowl species and are "divers". Their legs are relatively farther back on their body, which makes them great swimmers, but awkward on land, so they don't do a lot of walking.
They dive below the surface of the water (they prefer clear, freshwater ponds, lakes, swamps, streams, and forested rivers) and use their serrated bills to feed on fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, amphibians, etc. Their eyes are specially adapted to help them see very well while underwater.
These guys are named for their "hoods". The black and white hood is collapsible, but is obvious whether the bird is holding it up or down. The males use it to attract females. As with many birds, the females have the same physical traits, including the crest, but are more drab in color.
These guys are fairly common and are easily spotted in groups with other divers.
Sarah Baxter with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission explains more about the Hooded Merganser and shows you examples on "THV 11 News at Noon".
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