Red Breasted Merganser

This is a striking diving duck uses its long serrated bill to catch its prey, mainly small fish. The male has a distinctive red/orange breast and a green head.

 It swims lying low in the water, looking waterlogged.

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Discover more about the Red breasted merganser

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When to see

Resident all year round. It nests on the ground at the coast during spring and larger flocks form at the end of the breeding season in July. In the winter, birds from northern Europe join the resident population in estuaries and along the coast and the numbers swell further.

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Where to see

This large sea duck can be found around the coasts of Scotland, particularly in the northwest during the breeding season. During the winter the birds flock in hundreds into estuaries and sheltered bays such as along the shores of the Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth as well as the southeastern shores of the Firth of Forth.

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Did you know?

The population of red-breasted mergansers goes up by more than four times during the winter as the resident Scottish population is joined by European birds crossing the North Sea for winter quarters in the North East of Scotland.

A member of the ‘sawbills’, which includes the larger goosander, they come into conflict with sport fisherman because they feed on young salmon and trout amongst other fish.

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Related species

Goldeneye Goosander

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Resident all year round. It nests on the ground at the coast during spring and larger flocks form at the end of the breeding season in July. In the winter, birds from northern Europe join the resident population in estuaries and along the coast and the numbers swell further.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

This large sea duck can be found around the coasts of Scotland, particularly in the northwest during the breeding season. During the winter the birds flock in hundreds into estuaries and sheltered bays such as along the shores of the Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth as well as the southeastern shores of the Firth of Forth.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

The population of red-breasted mergansers goes up by more than four times during the winter as the resident Scottish population is joined by European birds crossing the North Sea for winter quarters in the North East of Scotland.

A member of the ‘sawbills’, which includes the larger goosander, they come into conflict with sport fisherman because they feed on young salmon and trout amongst other fish.

Dolphin Icon Blue
Related species

Goldeneye Goosander

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Resident all year round. It nests on the ground at the coast during spring and larger flocks form at the end of the breeding season in July. In the winter, birds from northern Europe join the resident population in estuaries and along the coast and the numbers swell further.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

This large sea duck can be found around the coasts of Scotland, particularly in the northwest during the breeding season. During the winter the birds flock in hundreds into estuaries and sheltered bays such as along the shores of the Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth as well as the southeastern shores of the Firth of Forth.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

The population of red-breasted mergansers goes up by more than four times during the winter as the resident Scottish population is joined by European birds crossing the North Sea for winter quarters in the North East of Scotland.

A member of the ‘sawbills’, which includes the larger goosander, they come into conflict with sport fisherman because they feed on young salmon and trout amongst other fish.

Dolphin Icon Blue
Related species

Goldeneye Goosander