Male Goosander

Goosander

Scientific name: Mergus merganser

Did you know: Goosanders, a member of the sawbill family, were first recorded breeding in the UK in 1871.

What Do Goosanders Look Like? (How to Identify Them)

Goosanders are handsome diving ducks known for their long, serrated bills, ideal for catching fish. With a length of 58-66 cm and a wingspan of 82-97 cm, these birds are a remarkable sight.

Differences Between Male And Female Goosanders

Male Goosanders boast a glossy green head and a striking blood-red beak. Their black wings and back contrast sharply with their white bodies, tinged salmon-pink during the breeding season. 

Females and juveniles, on the other hand, have a gingery-orange head and grey body, with a clear delineation between the two.

What Do Goosanders Eat?

Predominantly fish-eaters, Goosanders enjoy a diet ranging from small sticklebacks to larger salmon and trout. Their unique serrated bill is perfectly adapted for this piscivorous diet.

Where Do Goosanders Live? (Including Migration Info)

Goosanders are found in freshwater environments across the UK. They breed in the uplands and, during winter, migrate to lakes, reservoirs, and occasionally sheltered estuaries. 

Large flocks, sometimes numbering in the thousands, are a common sight in some European regions.

Bird Calls & Songs (The Unique Voices of Goosanders)

Goosanders are generally quiet, but their presence is occasionally announced by a low, harsh croak. During the breeding season, males may emit a soft whistle.

Fun Goosander Facts (Kid Friendly)

  • Goosanders first bred in the UK in 1871 and have since expanded their range across the nation.
  • They are known to form large flocks, particularly in some parts of Europe.
  • These birds are highly sociable, often seen diving in groups.
  • Goosanders use their serrated bills to skillfully catch a variety of fish.
  • They nest in tree cavities or large nest boxes near water bodies.

Goosander Images

Male Goosander Male
Female Goosander Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Goosander

Diet: Fish.
Bird Family: Ducks, geese and swans
Length: 58-66cm
Wingspan: 82-97cm
Weight: 1,300-2,100g (male); 900-1,700g (female)
Scientific Name: Mergus merganser

The Goosander Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December