Goosanders - Hebridean Birds Sightings
Western Isles Birds - Goosanders. These lovely birds, the goosanders are seen in The Western Isles and throughout Scotland and the Uk - the goosanders

The males lovely black and white plumage is really smart. These sawbills - have great diving skills.

The females have greyish plumage with brown heads. Both males and females have crests. Diving ducks - members of the sawbill family. . A largely freshwater bird, the goosander first bred in the UK in 1871.
Goosander - Female -  Isle of Lewis - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Goosander - Western Isles
Bird Overview - Goosanders
Swans, Ducks - Geese
Latin name
Mergus merganser

Similar Species
Red Breasted Merganser


Diving ducks - members of the sawbill family. . A largely freshwater bird, the goosander first bred in the UK in 1871.

Mainly was in Scotland - however since 1970 has spread across N England into wales, reaching SW England.

This bird the goosander loves salmon and trout - which has brought it into conflict with fishermen. It is gregarious, forming into flocks of several thousand in some parts of Europe.

A long thin billed duck - with clean tones in all plumages. The male is mainly white but may have a pinkish look in winter and early spring. Its head looks black at a distance but is in fact a dark glossy green.. The bill is long, narrow and red with a black strip along the top. It is also serrated to grip slippery fish.

The male goosanders most striking aspect is the brightness of white feathering over most of his body

The female has a greyish body and a reddish brown head and upper neck with a white chin


66cm (body 40 - 46cm) Wing span 82 - 97cm. The largest of the saw billed ducks.
These birds, the goosanders, favour upper basins of rivers. Upland rivers. - in winter can be seen in large open waters - marine inlets

The goosander feeds mostly on fish. It dives from the surface using its legs for propulsion and returns to the surface to eat its prey clasping the fish round the middle using its serrated bill then gradually moves the fish so that it can swallow it head first.

The goosander forages with its head including the eyes submerged. In shallow water can catch prey without diving - but always dives in deeper water.
The goosanders voice is little used except in courtship when there is a faint twanging with a high pitched bell like note

Goosanders nest in tree holes - often in banks and amongst rocks. The nest is a slight hollow with lining of anything that is available at the time. The eggs are creamy white - a clutch of 8 - 11 is usual. Incubation is 30 - 32 days. Fledging is 60 - 70 days. The ducklings jump to reach the ground and water long before they can fly

After the breeding season the male goosander moults which leaves him looking somewhat like the female goosanders.

Misc.     Info

The sawbills are, so called because of their long, serrated bills, used for catching fish .Goosander wings make a whistling noise in flight. ~In flight both sexes show bold white patch on inner wing

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