Red-breasted Merganser (female)
Family: (Anatidae) Ducks, Geese, and Swans
Preferred Habitat: Bays, large lakes.
Seasonal Occurrence: Common November through April.
Notes: The Red-breasted Merganser is the most common merganser species in our area. It is most likely seen along the coastline and in Galveston Bay. Red-breasted Mergansers prefer salt water more than other mergansers. Males are boldly marked with dark green heads, red bills, and black, white, and rust upperparts. Females are predominantly soft brown and gray. Both sexes have prominent head crests. Unlike most ducks, mergansers eat mainly fish, for which they frequently pursue underwater. Mergansers were given the nickname "sawbills" because of the serrated edges of their bills which help them seize their slippery prey.
- Susan Billetdeaux