Sunday Duck O’ the Week

We continue with a quarantine series designed to educate readers on America’s native ducks. The series was suggested and photos and information provided by evolutionist John Avise at UC Irvine. I’ll show John’s photos, and you have to guess the duck species.

I’ll put his ID, some facts about the ducks, and a range map below the fold. John’s words, here and below, are indented:

Here is this week’s duck: seven photos and my brief commentary on an especially beautiful species:

To see the ID, duck facts, and a range map, click on “Read more”:

ID: Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

The smallest Merganser, this species nests in tree cavities and prefers small, wooded ponds.  Both sexes have a “hammerhead” look, with the drake’s erect crest forming a large white patch bordered in black.  The hen’s crest is smaller and drabber, but still beautiful to my eyes (and undoubtedly to those of a drake).  Indeed, the hen’s neatly coiffed crest can make her look as if she’s just returned from an appointment at a hair salon (or should I say a feather salon?).

And a range map from the Cornell bird site:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I guessed correctly – but learned something new too!

    Nice duck!

  2. Sue B
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Guessed correctly also — such a beautiful duck, both hen and drake. I didn’t realize that the hen also has a crest. Thank you John for sharing your knowledge and lovely photos with Jerry and subsequently us every week.

  3. EdwardM
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I like the hen’s bouffant. I hear it’s making a comeback.

  4. Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Lovely! Imagine a couple of these at Botany Pond!

  5. rickflick
    Posted June 7, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    My first thought was bufflehead, but then I knew it was not as white along the water line.

  6. Posted June 7, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    These are gorgeous! Love the one where he’s taking off from the pond (4th one down) and the hens gathering for a gossip session.

    I always learn something on these posts.

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