Head, neck, and upper parts, dusky brown; beneath white: bill and legs reddish brown: crest (in the adult male) semicircular, compressed.
M. cucullatus, Faun. Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 463. Hooded Merganser, Lath. Syn. vol. iii. p. 426. pl. 101. Will. Amer. Orn. vol. viii. p. 79. pl. 69. f. 1. Selb. in Trans, of Nat. Hist. Soc. of Newcast. vol. i. p. 292. Id. Must. vol. ii. p. 383. pl. 58**.
Entire length eighteen inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch eight lines, (from the gape) two inches; of the tarsus one inch three lines; of the tail three inches ten lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing seven inches six lines.
(Adult male). Head and neck brownish black; the former furnished with a large, erect, compressed, semicircular crest, extending from the forehead to the occiput; frontal portion of the crest, space above the eyes, and a narrow edging all round, black; the remaining part of the crest, and a space on the sides of the occiput commencing five lines behind the eyes, white: back, rump, tail, primaries, and lesser wing-coverts, dark cinereous brown, inclining in some places to dusky: greater coverts, and secondary quills, black at the base, the tips of the former and outer borders of the latter white; the whole together forming a speculum consisting of four bars, black and white alternately: scapulars long and pointed, greenish black, streaked longitudinally down the middle with white: sides of the breast with two or three crescent-shaped transverse black bars; flanks, and sides of the body near the bend of the wing, finely undulated with black and yellowish brown; rest of the under parts pure white: bill and legs reddish brown. (Adult female). Forehead, sides of the head, and all the neck, dark ash-colour; crest shorter than in the male, reddish ash, without any white: all the upper plumage dark brown, approaching to dusky, with a tinge of cinereous: upper part of the breast, and flanks, lead-gray, the feathers edged with white: the rest much as in the male. (Young female?) " Chin grayish white, speckled with grayish brown; the whole of the face, cheeks, and neck, of an uniform grayish brown, or mouse-colour; crown of the head darker; occipital crest pale reddish brown, tinged with gray; breast gray, the margins of the feathers paler; upper back and wing-coverts grayish black, the feathers margined with obscure grayish brown; scapulars and lower back black; margins of four or five of the secondary quills white, forming a small spot in the middle of the wings; quills and tail grayish black; lower part of the breast, belly, and abdomen, pure white, with a silken lustre; sides and flanks deep grayish brown; bill reddish brown at the base, the tip black; legs reddish brown." Selb. (Egg). White. Lath.
A single individual of this species, supposed to be a young female, of which the above is a description borrowed from Selby, was killed near Yarmouth in Norfolk, in the Winter of 1829. It is a native of North America, and had never before been seen in Europe. According to Latham, appears at Hudson's Bay as a summer visitant at the end of May, and builds close to the lakes. Nest composed of grass, lined with feathers from the breast. Eggs four to six in number. Frequents fresh waters.