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Red-brested Merganser

Mergus serrator

Male red-brested merganser. Photo Aaro Toivio.

General information. The red-breasted merganser has a darker plumage and is somewhat smaller in size in comparison to the common merganser. The male is recognizable by the spiky crest on its black head, along with its poignant brown speckled chest. The female red-breasted merganser looks quite similar to the female common merganser. However, the two species are most easily distinguished apart by the appearance of the border between the brown neck and light chest identified on each merganser. The border is blurred on the red-breasted merganser while it is sharper and more pronounced on the common merganser. The red-breasted merganser is near threatened species according to Finland’s threat classification system.

  • Length 55 cm
  • Nests on the ground
  • Winters in Central- and southern Europe
  • Feeds primarily on small fish

Habitat. The red-breasted merganser is a common duck found along the coast and in large inland water bodies. The species tends to avoid smaller inland lakes. It can often be found near tern and gull colonies.

Distribution in Vaasa. The majority of the red-breasted merganser population in Vaasa is concentrated to the outer and inner archipelago, being also observed close to the city waterfronts and sea bays. The red-breasted merganser was observed in approximately 150 survey blocks during the survey.