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, page 2

• Mergansers are fast swimmers both on and beneath the water surface. Often they cruise along with their heads submerged up to the eyes before diving for food.

• The qualities that make mergansers good divers inhibit graceful flight. In order to get airborne, the birds first have to run across the water because their wings are fairly small in relation to their heavy bodies.

• The bills of all waterfowl feature serrated edges, but the large, sawlike teeth slanting backward and the bill shape itself—round instead of flattened, and slightly hooked at the end—are distinctive in mergansers and account for the nickname “sawbill.” These adaptations help in catching and holding fish.     next page >>

ML Reeb writer: Laurence Wiland design: T. Yao