Hug A Hoody

Photo: Drake Hooded Merganser, Radipole Lake, Dorset

A view from up North on a charismatic Nearctic duck

The Hooded Merganser is a stunning North American species that is being seen in Europe with increasing frequency, in places such as the Azores, Iceland, Ireland and the islands of Scotland

How much of the upturn in records is due to birds flying over the Atlantic from North America to Europe is a matter of speculation and personal opinion that can be looked at in a scientific manner

According to Birdlife International, statistics say that the Hooded Merganser population in the Nearctic ecozone has risen exponentially, around 86% per decade in recent times, and it is therefore pretty safe to state that Hooded Mergansers are arriving in Europe from the Nearctic given the rise in the wild population and the fact that ducks can rest on the sea during overseas flights

There are different theories as to why birds fly such a long distance over the Atlantic, are some “lost” vagrants blown off-course during migration ? Are some pioneers flying thousands of miles to find new breeding habitat ?

In our Celtic isles, Hooded Mergansers often attract large numbers of birders and I recall being part of a big crowd in Nottinghamshire at Barnstone in November 1997 watching a female Hooded Merganser, whilst the long-staying drake in Dorset might be the most watched, and photographed, Hooded Merganser of all-time!

A drake spent the summer of 1994 on Whittle Dene Reservoir in Northumberland in quality breeding habitat for the species and in Ireland, a pair have just arrived on an island off the coast of County Donegal – the birding scene is getting twitchy at the thought of these birds being genuine wild birds that have flown in with the recent weather systems that would seem to be favourable to support a trans-Atlantic flight

The increased numbers of birds present in the wild raises the spectre of breeding, and there are many places that are suitable breeding locations for this species that has similar breeding requirements to Goosander and Goldeneye


British Birds, Hooded Merganser on North Uist: A Return To The British List

Hooded Merganser Added To The British List

Updates on the Irish Hooded Mergansers

Increase in the Hooded Merganser Population in Massachussetts

Dominic Mitchell, Lophodyte Tendency

Hooded Merganser in Essex

A View From Texas


Nesting Habits Of Hooded Mergansers


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