Sunday, 17 April 2011

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

OTHER NAMES: Red-breasted Goosander, Red-breasted Sheldrake, Garbill, Sea Robin
Latin Etymology: Mergus (unidentified bird named by Pliny) serrator ("saw")

Adult male Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) at Derwent Water, Cumbria -  April 2011

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 780-1350g  /  Length: 52-58cm  /  Wingspan: 70-86cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Red-breasted mergansers are the rarer species of "sawbill" found in the United Kingdom - they are far less numerous and more localised Goosanders - found more in the North and West of the country. They also Winter around the coast in other parts of the country. Smaller than Goosanders, the defining feature is the red neck of the name when comparing it against Goosanders.  I first came across this species while intentionally looking for them in the lake district, but have subsequently had the odd distance view along the Kent coast.

Related Species:
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Mergus
Subspecies: none - monotypic

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A scarce and local breeding species (2,400 pairs) and uncommon Wintering species (9000 birds)
 - A small flock seen on Derwent Water in April 2011.  Also on the sea off North Kent in the Winter.
JAPAN - Japanese - ウミアイサ / Umi-aisa  ("Sea merganser"/"Sea Autumn-Sand")
A Winter migrant
  - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Seen on the sea in Akkeshi.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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