Hooded Merganser: here’s the scoop


This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America. Overhunting was once a reason for their decline as well as habitat alteration. As with all birds that nest in tree holes, dead trees are important habitat components and landowners can improve hooded merganser habitat by leaving dead trees on their property.


Hooded Merganser

Scientific name

Lophodytes cucullatus


Marshes, small lakes, ponds, wetlands, forested rivers, brackish bays and tidal estuaries


Fish, aquatic invertebrates, insects, amphibians and vegetation

life expectancy

12 – 15 years

Did you know?

Hooded mergansers often lay their eggs in other females’ nests. This is called “brood parasitism”.  Female hooded mergansers can lay up to 13 eggs in a clutch, but nests have been found with up to 44 eggs.


North America

Conservation status

Least Concern

Widespread and abundant