BIRDS OF ICELAND : Mergus serrator, Red-breasted Merganser

Mergus serrator; the red-breasted merganser is a fish-eating duck. Merganser's & Goosander's have long beaks with a sharp hook, adapted to catch small fish. The main food source is Stickleback's. They can be found on Iceland along the coasts and lakes. Goosander's (Mergus merganser) are not very common on Iceland but are breeding birds. The red-breasted merganser is quite common, though. The drakes are easily distinguishable: male goosanders have white breasts , white bellies and no crest while red-breasted mergansers have reddish marbled breasts, grayish breasts and a crest. Females are more difficult to tell but goosander females have a strict line between the red color of the head and the white color of the breast. In the merganser females this is blurred. Apart from that females only differ in size (62 cm goosander vs. 55 cm merganser). Both Merganser's & Goosander's stay in small numbers on Iceland during the winter where waters don't freeze but most birds leave southwards.

A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise
Other Waterfowl species

Other Waterfowl species

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 Female bird.

 A couple.

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Natural History of Iceland Site  in Dutch

Natural History of Iceland Site  Dutch