|Scientific Name:||Mergus merganser Linnaeus, 1758|
|English Name:||Common Merganser|
|Classification / Taxonomy|
|Scientific Name - Concept Reference:||American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.|
|Species Group:||Vertebrate Animal|
|Conservation Status / Legal Designation|
|Global Status:||G5 (Apr 2016)|
|Provincial Status:||S5 (Mar 2015)|
|Provincial FRPA list:|
|Provincial Wildlife Act:|
|General Status Canada:||4 - Secure (2005)|
|Migratory Bird Convention Act:||Y|
|Ecology & Life History|
|General Description:||See Kaufman (1990, Am. Birds 44:1203-1205) for information on identification.|
|Global Reproduction Comments:||Clutch size is 6-17 (usually 9-12). Incubation lasts 28-32 days, by female. Young first fly at 60-70 days. First breeds at end of second year (Terres 1980, Palmer 1976).|
| Migration Characteristics:|
(Global / Provincial)
Within Borders Migrant:
|Global Migration Comments:||Migration to northern breeding areas occurs mainly in March-April. Southerly migration is relatively late, mainly October into December. Some birds remain in northern areas (e.g., Great Lakes, Maritimes, New England) in winter. (Palmer 1976).|
(Type / Subtype / Dependence)
Forest / Conifer Forest - Moist/wet / Unknown
Forest / Deciduous/Broadleaf Forest / Unknown
Forest / Mixed Forest (deciduous/coniferous mix) / Unknown
Lakes / Lake / Unknown
Ocean / Intertidal Marine / Unknown
Other Unique Habitats / Estuary / Unknown
Riparian / Gravel Bar / Unknown
Riparian / Riparian Forest / Unknown
Riparian / Riparian Herbaceous / Unknown
Riparian / Riparian Shrub / Unknown
Stream/River / Stream/River / Unknown
Wetland / Bog / Unknown
Wetland / Fen / Unknown
Wetland / Marsh / Unknown
Wetland / Swamp / Unknown
|Global Habitat Comments:||
Mostly lakes and rivers; winters primarily on open lakes and rivers and brackish lagoons, rarely in marine coastal situations (AOU 1983).
Nests usually in tree cavities, also on ground and in nest boxes and cliff crevices; generally near clear waters of lakes and rivers in forested regions and mountainous terrain (AOU 1983, Terres 1980).
Herbivore: Adult, Immature
Invertivore: Adult, Immature
Piscivore: Adult, Immature
|Global Food Habits Comments:||Eats mainly fishes obtained by diving underwater; also amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Young initially feed on insects, caught mostly underwater. (Palmer 1976).|
Crepuscular: Adult, Immature
Diurnal: Adult, Immature
| Provincial Phenology:
(1st half of month/
2nd half of month)
|Length(cm)/width(cm)/Weight(g):||64/ / 1709|
|Elevation (m) (min / max):||
|Global Range Comment:||BREEDS: Alaska, southern Yukon, Labrador, and Newfoundland south to central California, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Chihuahua (Brown 1990), and, east of Rockies, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, New England, and Nova Scotia. WINTERS: Alaska and southern Canada to Mexico and Florida. Also in Old World.|
|Authors / Contributors|
|Global Information Author:||HAMMERSON, G.|
|Last Updated:||Jan 20, 1995|
|Provincial Information Author:|
|References and Related Literature|
American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.
Bellrose, F. C. 1980. Ducks, geese and swans of North America. 3rd edition. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 540 pp.
Brown, B. T. 1990. Nesting common mergansers in Chihuahua, Mexico. Southwest Nat. 35:88-89.
Campbell, R.W., N.K. Dawe, I.McT. Cowan, J.M. Cooper, G. Kaiser, and M.C.E. McNall. 1990. The Birds of British Columbia, Vol. 1. Nonpasserines: Introduction, Loons through Waterfowl. Royal B.C. Mus. in association with Environ. Can., Can. Wildl. Serv. 514pp.
Palmer, R. S., editor. 1976. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 3. Waterfowl (concluded). Eiders, wood ducks,diving ducks, mergansers, stifftails. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 560 pp.
Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Please visit the website Conservation Status Ranks for definitions of the data fields used in this summary report.
B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 1995. Species Summary: Mergus merganser. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: https://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/eswp/ (accessed Feb 6, 2023).