Scaly-sided Merganser: here’s the scoop


They are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red list due to a declining population resulting from habitat loss, logging, illegal hunting, and drowning in fishing nets.

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Scaly-sided Mergansers. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

Buttonwood Park Zoo successfully hatched and raised three endangered scaly-sided mergansers in 2019 and five in 2020, with the goal of becoming a significant contributor to saving this important species in the years to come. We are one of only 13 AZA institutions that care for this species.


Scaly-sided merganser

Scientific name

Mergus squamatus


Breeding occurs in forested, fast-flowing mountain rivers and rapid streams. Non-breeding season is spent on larger lakes and more sluggish rivers and lagoons.


Feeds primarily on small fish, crustaceans, and insects.

life expectancy

12 – 15 years

Did you know?

Buttonwood Park Zoo proudly supports the Scaly-sided Merganser Task Force, a dynamic program that works to save and protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat, and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them by funding non-invasive video monitoring of artificial nest sites.


Breeds in southeast Russia, North Korea and northeast China. Winters are spent in central and southern China.

Conservation status


High risk of extinction in the wild