Video Birds of a feather. Hooded Mergansers in Central Park.
Birds of a feather. Hooded Mergansers in Central Park.
A small group of Hooded Mergansers dive for food on the Reservoir in Central Park.
Waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans) overwintering in the salt, brackish and fresh waters of the NYC area include species as colorful and diverse as Wood, Ruddy, Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup, Scoters, Wigeon, Teal, etc. Most migrate here from as far away as the boreal forest and tundra of northern Canada, New England, or the plains of the Midwest. The Hooded Mergansers pictured here breed north and west of New York City on wooded ponds. In early fall, they fly in close to the coast to spend the winter - wherever they can find open water. Like a majority of duck species, mergansers are sexually dichromatic: the male exhibits bright colors and conspicuous patterns while the female clothes herself in a camouflaging mixture of gray and brown feathers. You can guess who stays at home and incubates the eggs. Males this conspicuous would be a liability, attracting predators to the nest.