red-breasted merganser

red-breasted merganser defined in 1930 year

red-breasted merganser - Red-breasted Merganser;
red-breasted merganser - Bill and irides red; head, including crest and upper neck, dark glossy green; below, a white collar, divided on the nape by a narrow black line running to the back, which is also black; the long falcated inner scapulars black, the outer ones white; speculum white barred with black; rump, flanks, and tail-coverts vermiculated with grey; lower neck pale chestnut streaked with black, on each side a conspicuous tuft of white feathers edged with black; under parts white; legs and feet reddish orange. Length, twenty-four inches. The female has the head and neck reddish brown, and is less richly coloured than the male, and much smaller.

The present species exceeds the goosander in elegance of form and in handsomeness of colouring and ornament. It is a winter visitor, and also a resident throughout the year on the coast of Scotland north of the Clyde, and of the Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides, and St. Kilda. In Scotland and Ireland it inhabits inland lakes and rivers, as well as the sea-coasts. During the cold season it is gregarious, and usually goes in small flocks. In March these companies break up, and male and female are thereafter seen always in close companionship. They are excessively shy and wary birds, diving or taking to flight on the least alarm. They feed on small fishes and marine molluscs, which they take by diving; near the shore, where the water is shallow, they are often seen with head and neck almost continuously immersed as they explore among the seaweed at the bottom for food. They swim like the cormorant, having the faculty of sinking the body beneath the surface; and also dive like that bird, springing up and plunging down almost vertically. The favourite nesting-place is on an island, under the shelter of a rock, sometimes in a hole in the ground. The nest is formed of leaves and grass placed in a slight hollow, down being added later by the incubating bird. Six to nine eggs are laid, sometimes as many as twelve. The eggs are glossy, and pale olive-grey in colour. The drake does not assist in incubation or in protecting the young.

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near red-breasted merganser in Knolik

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