Range. - North America, breeding from the northern border of the United States northward.
The three species of Mergansers are almost exclusively fish eating birds. Therefore their flesh is unpalatable and they are known as "Fish Ducks." They are also sometimes called "Sawbills" because of the teeth-like serration on both the upper and the under mandibles. Unlike the other species of ducks, their bills are long, slender and rounded instead of being broad and flat; it is also hooked at the tip. Like the Cormorants, they often pursue and catch fish under the water, their teeth-like bills enabling them to firmly hold their prey.
American Merganser. Red-breasted Merganser.
The American Mergansers, Goosanders, or Sheldrakes, as they are often called, are found both on the coast and in the interior. Except in certain mountainous regions, they breed chiefly north of the United States. The male bird has no crest and the head is a beautiful green, while the female has a reddish brown crest and head, shading to white on the chin. They build their nest in hollow trees near the water. It is made of grasses, leaves and moss and is lined with feathers from the breast of the female. During May, they lay from six to ten eggs of a creamy or buff color. Size 2.70 x 1.75. Data. - Gun Is., Lake Winnipeg. June 16, 1903. Eleven eggs in a nest of white down, located between two large boulders. Collector, Walter Raine.