Merganser Ducks

Merganser Ducks (“sawbills”)

Merganser Ducks are seaducks that primarily feed on fish. Along with the Smew and Hooded Merganser, they are therefore often known as “sawbills” – so named because of the serrated edges to their bills to help them grip their slippery prey.

Group Merganser Ducks Swimming In The Lake
Group Merganser Ducks Swimming In The Lake

Most of the merganser species favor riverine habitats, the exception being the Red-breasted Merganser, which is common at sea.

Species and Ranges

  • Auckland Islands Merganser, Mergus australis (extinct, c.1902) – Formerly occurred on South Island and Stewart Island in New Zealand
  • Common Merganser or Goosander, Mergus merganser – Found in Europe, North Asia, and North America.
  • Brazilian Merganser, Mergus octosetaceus – Found in Brazil, South America
  • Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator – Found across northern North America, Greenland, Europe and Asia.
  • Chinese Merganser, Mergus squamatus – Found in temperate East Asia

Diet / Feeding:

Merganser Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails, and crabs.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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