Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus
Population Estimate: 300K, Least Concern status
Range: Year-round throughout the eastern US and Pacific Northwest. There is also a migrant population which winters in western US and summers in the northern Midwest and into Canada.
Field Notes: Small diving duck usually found in shallow ponds. Male breeding plumage is distinctive and the crest may either be raised (top photo) or lowered (bottom photo). The breeding male with raised crest may be initially confused with a Bufflehead, but the latter lacks brown sides and its white head patch wraps around the back of the neck. The female Hooded Merganser lacks the white chin patch of the female Common Merganser and has a shorter, less red bill compared to the female Red-breasted Merganser.
Personal Notes: One of our favorite Minnesota birds!