Male Common Merganser (856)
The Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), also known as the gulaund or goosander, is a large duck, of lakes and rivers of forested areas of Europe, North Asia and North America. It eats fish and nests in tree holes. There are three subspecies: M. m. merganser – Goosander (Europe) M. m. orientalis – Central Asian Common Merganser M. m. americanus – American Common Merganser M. m. merganser, female with ducklingsUnlike some other species in the genus Mergus, the Common Merganser does not have a crest. Males and females are easily distinguished, since the male merganser has a dark green head, while the head of the female is reddish-brown. The Common Merganser is 70 cm (27.6 in) long with a 78-94 cm (41 in) wingspan. These large fish-eaters have serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their prey. Along with the Smew and the other Mergansers, they are therefore often known as "sawbills". In addition to fish, they also take other aquatic prey, such as mussels, frogs, and shrimps; young birds mainly eat aquatic insects. When not diving for food, these birds are usually seen swimming leisurely on the water surface, not often coming onto land except when nesting or occasionally to rest.
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