Males and females of the hooded merganser form monogamous pairs and they remain together until the female has selected a nesting cavity and completed laying her clutch. Hooded Mergansers are cavity nesters, frequently choosing trees that are close to ponds, marshes, swamps or streams. One is in the eastern United States from the southern Canada–US border along the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf Coast in the region of the Mississippi delta. One priority consideration when managing wooded habitat for cavity nesting ducks, is to maintain a sufficient population of mature trees in which suitable nesting cavities would be plentiful. It has been suggested that in recent years proper timber management is increasing available habitat successfully. Although the hooded merganser is a common species in captivity in Europe and most specimens recorded in the wild are regarded as escapes, a small number of birds have been regarded as genuinely wild vagrants. , For preference the hooded merganser lives on small bodies of water such as ponds and small estuaries where there is ample emergent aquatic vegetation, but it also inhabits larger wetlands, impoundments, flooded timber, and rivers. Furthermore, the young birds have narrower white edges to their tertial feathers than adults do. (2009). Britain's current first accepted record is a bird which was seen on North Uist in October 2000. Nests in cavities. The adult female has a greyish-brown body, with a narrow white patch over the lower breast and belly. After that, the male leaves the female to incubate and care for the brood. Along with Wood Ducks and other cavity-nesting ducks, Hooded Mergansers often lay their eggs in other females’ nests. His lower flanks are a rich reddish-brown or chestnut in colour, and the breast and undersides are more or less white, extending into white stripes across the crop and breast. They have two major year-round ranges. Females and immature males are brown overall with a puffy crest and a thin orange stripe along the bottom of the bill. During the nonbreeding season the male looks similar to the female, except that his eyes are yellow and the female's eyes are brown. Incubation is by female only, 26-41 days, usually about 33 days. Females will actively seek out cavities in dead trees or artificial nest boxes such as those provided for nesting wood ducks.  In addition these ducks do make use of artificial nest boxes when available.  Small numbers are seen regularly in Dublin, but these are presumed to be escapes. Young: within 24 hours after hatching, young leave nest; female calls to them from below, young climb to cavity entrance and jump to ground. A species of fossil merganser from the Late Pleistocene of Vero Beach, Florida, was described as Querquedula floridana (a genus now included in Anas), but upon reexamination turned out to be a species closely related to the hooded merganser; it is now named Lophodytes floridanus, but the exact relationship between this bird and the modern species is unknown. Once they leave the nest, the young are capable of diving and foraging, but remain with the female for warmth and protection. In both sexes there are narrow white stripes along the tertial wing feathers; when the bird is in repose they have the appearance of longitudinal white stripes along the bird's lower back, if they are visible. The female Hooded Merganser has a grey-brown body and ginger "hair". Sometimes they will nest some distance from the water, but generally they really like boxes over the water. Small duck; feeds by diving to catch mainly fish with thin, serrated bill. They compete with Wood Ducks for nest boxes put out by humans, and females of both species may lay eggs in the same nest, with one or the other incubating the eggs. Hooded mergansers are the second smallest species of merganser, with only the smew of Europe and Asia being smaller, and it also is the only merganser whose native habitat is restricted to North America.
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