Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Common Merganser — Water Connection

• Young Common Mergansers leave their nests within a day or so of hatching. The mother protects the chicks, but she does not feed them—they dive to catch all of their own food. Chicks eat mostly aquatic insects at first, but switch over to fish when they are about 12 days old.

• Gulls of various species often follow flocks of foraging Common Mergansers. The gulls wait for the ducks to come to the surface with fish, and then they try to steal their prey. Occasionally even a Bald Eagle will try to steal a fish from a successful merganser.

• Mergansers prefer to feed in waters less than six feet deep, though they can dive to depths of 30 feet or more. Most dives last less than 20 seconds.     next page >>

ML Reeb writer: Laurence Wiland design: T. Yao