Lophodytes Cucullatus – Hooded Merganser

Lophodytes Cucullatus - Hooded Merganser found in the US

Merganser species hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus). It is the genus Lophodytes’s sole extant species. The genus name stems from the Greek words lophos, which means ‘crest,’ and dutes, which means ‘diver.’ The bird is visually remarkable; both sexes have crests that can be raised or lowered, and the male’s breeding plumage is attractively patterned and colored. Although the hooded merganser possesses a sawbill, it is not normal merganser.

Quick Overview: Lophodytes Cucullatus – Hooded Merganser
Body size: Around 16-19 in (41-48 cm) and a weight of 909 g (32.09 oz)
Main colors: Black, White, Brown, Yellow
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Hooded Merganser Description

Small diving duck with a razor-sharp bill. Breeding males are distinguished by a prominent black-and-white crest, a few zebra stripes on the white breast, and cinnamon-colored sides. Females are brown with a fluffy crest and a bill that is partially yellow.

Lophodytes Cucullatus - Hooded Merganser found in the US
Lophodytes Cucullatus – Hooded Merganser. Source: Wikipedia


These birds have a length of 16-19 in (41-48 cm) and a weight of 909 g (32.09 oz). Their wings could range from 24-26 in (61-66 cm).


Aquatic life includes fish and other aquatic creatures. Feeds primarily on small fish, crayfish and other crustaceans, and aquatic insects; some tadpoles, a few mollusks, and trace amounts of plant material are also consumed.


Lakes, ponds, and rivers that are forested. In the summer, in forested areas, near creeks, narrow rivers, and pond edges. If artificial nesting places are supplied, they may be found in more open marsh settings. In the winter, woodland ponds, wooded swamps, and fresh and brackish coastal estuaries are frequent habitats.


Generally, the hooded merganser congregates in tiny groups of no more than ten or twelve individuals. When alarmed, they will flee. They are one of the swiftest flying ducks on the planet.

Lophodytes Cucullatus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: .Lophodytes
  • Species: Lophodytes cucullatus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Hooded Merganser in the USA

Breeds in northern British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and central-eastern Canada, as well as in New England, the Great Lakes region, and the Ohio River valley. Winters in Baja California and the Gulf Coast states

The Hooded Merganser can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Lophodytes Cucullatus – Hooded Merganser

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