SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lophodytes cucullatus
STATUS: Rare breeder. Fairly common in winter, spring, and fall, and rare in summer in all regions. Low Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTION: The smallest of the three mergansers occurring in North America, the hooded merganser is also the only one restricted to North America. Male hooded mergansers have a large white crest surrounded by black. The top of the head, neck, and back are all black and the chest, breast, and belly are white. Wavy black lines can be seen on the tawny sides and flanks. The hindback, rump, and tail are dark brown. The long narrow serrated bill is black. The iris is bright yellow and the legs and feet are dull yellow. Female hooded mergansers have a gray-brown head and neck with a reddish-brown crest. Gray pervades their neck, chest, sides, and flanks, and brownish-black their back, rump, and tail. The upper bill is black edged with orange and the lower bill is yellow. The legs and feet are greenish in color and the iris is brown.