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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Red-breasted Merganser


Adult male
Bird Sightings - Red-breated Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

(Common Sawbill, Red-Breasted Sheldrake, Saltwater Sheldrake, Saw-Bill, Fish Duck, Fuzzyhead, Long Island Sheldrake, Pheasant, Red-Breasted Goosander, Sea Robin, Shelduck, Shellbird, Spring Sheldrake, Lollipop Head)

Mergus serrator

Gaelic: Sìolta-dhearrg

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
lochmaddy Harbour - North Uist - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
20th January, 2007

 

  • Red-breasted Merganser (Common Sawbill, Red-Breasted Sheldrake, Saltwater Sheldrake, Saw-Bill, Fish Duck, Fuzzyhead, Long Island Sheldrake, Pheasant, Red-Breasted Goosander, Sea Robin, Shelduck, Shellbird, Spring Sheldrake, Lollipop Head)
  • Mergus serrator
  • Gaelic: Sìolta-dhearrg
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor
  • UK: Breeding: 2,370 pairs. Wintering 10,500 birds RSPB
  • WI: Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs)
  • Breeds: Birds return to breeding sites in March. Nest site sheltered location on ground near freshwater (Lakes/lochs, rivers). Asia, Greenland, N Europe, N America
  • Winters: Migratory - South of breeding range to Mediterranean, Black Seas, Mexico. UK birds forming large coastal flocks from July. Joined by N European birds late autumn.
  • Diet: Dives, swims underwater. Bill adapted for catching fish. Also aquatic insects, crustaceans, frogs
  • Diving duck. Long, thin, red, serrated bill. Spiky crest. Adult males dark green-sheened head. White neck. Rusty breast. Black back. White below. Adult female rusty head. Greyish body. Juvenile like female ( no white collar & smaller white wing patch).
  • Maximum recorded age 21yrs 3mths
  • Listen to a Red-breasted Merganser (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Goosedander (fairly rare)

 

Red-breasted Merganser records in the Western Isles

Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs)
The Western isle population is nationally important
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

More common in Lewis and Harris than the Uists.
Forms large winter flocks in sites like Broadbay near Stornoway.



On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Red-breasted Merganser is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

 

 

Male or female ducks and their collective nouns

Some people use the word duck only for an adult female and drake for an adult male whilst others say hen and drake.

Waterfowl collective nouns (From WIKI):
waterfowl (on water) A raft
waterfowl A bunch of waterfowl
waterfowl (less than 30) A knob
ducks, swimming A paddling of ducks
waterfowl A plump
ducks, idle in water A raft of ducks
ducks, diving A dopping of ducks
ducks, on ground A badelynge of ducks
ducks, flying A flight, plump, or team of ducks
ducks A brace, bunch, flock, skein, sord, string, brace, flush

 

 

 

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

Debbie's online photo album


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