The third species of Merganser that breeds in North America is the Hooded Merganser. The male likely wins the prize for snappiest headgear among North American birds.
Hoodies are the smallest of the three mergansers, and the only one that breeds only in North America. A cavity nester, it prefers cavities – or manmade nest boxes – in old trees near or over water.
Hoodies have extensive courtship displays, including the upward neck stretch.
Hoodies have an attitude that is much larger than their diminutive size. They’re fun to watch. Unfortunately, humankind’s relentless cutting of old growth forests, where it’s the old trees that have the cavities, has reduced the population of the species. We can make up for our error by constructing and maintaining more nest boxes, which Hoodie females accept pretty well.
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