One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fish-eating diving duck with a long, thin serrated and hooked bill.
Genus Mergus, subfamily Merginae, family Anatidae: six species, including the conspicuously crested red-breasted merganser (M. serrator); common merganser (M. merganser), the male of which has a white body and dark green headAlso called sawbill
- ‘These ducks are diving, not just dunking, but really diving under the water head first, going completely under like a merganser or bufflehead, and not appearing to be surface feeding at all.’
- ‘I just realized that our wood duck box had hooded mergansers in it and our bluebird boxes are full of swallows.’
- ‘We drifted past a pair of mergansers, treading water in a streamside eddy.’
- ‘The smallest merganser, the Smew of Eurasia sometimes visits America's northeastern shore.’
- ‘Hooded mergansers scuttled away as the Mackenzie type drift boat floated downstream.’
- ‘In fall and winter, look for bald eagles, American dippers, mergansers, red-shafted Northern flickers, red-tailed hawks, and Townsend's solitaires.’
- ‘Last fall brought another disaster, with the corpses of thousands of loons, mergansers, other ducks, and gulls washing up on Lake Erie's shores.’
- ‘The female merganser, more subtle than her mate, may be slower to draw the eye, but is just as beautiful.’
- ‘This area affords excellent views of Burrard Inlet and rafts of offshore ducks. scoters, scaup, mergansers, goldeneye and buffleheads are all good possibilities.’
- ‘Other animals such as the great blue heron, American merganser, snapping turtles, otter and mink can prey upon black crappie young and sometimes adults as well.’
- ‘The unofficial culling of pelican populations and, to a lesser extent, the merganser began in 1924.’
- ‘Sheldrakes are today's mergansers, while the Wilson thrush, known today as the veery is only a migrant on the Cape but a resident of New England's woods.’
- ‘In the large cove before us she identified the scattered ducks: golden eyes, canvas backs, mergansers, immature herring gulls.’
- ‘As it grows in the river from an egg, it's bothered by brown trout, preyed on by goosanders (ducks with serrated bills) and cormorants as well as mergansers (another type of salmon-persecuting duck).’
- ‘There were painted mallards, wood ducks, and mergansers carved where possible in and on the armrests, in fact.’
- ‘I was startled out of my dream state when a pair of mergansers flapped their way down along the creek's surface, turning skyward in front of me like training jets.’
- ‘Check your field guide to identify gadwalls, widgeons, wood ducks, hooded mergansers, ringnecks, and maybe a scalup or a canvasback.’
- ‘This duck is the smallest merganser commonly found in Washington.’
- ‘The mergansers were distant, but in the scope I could see the male's golden eye.’
- ‘A family of mergansers and a lone muskrat were spectators as the fledgling splashed about until his body was cooled and invigorated.’
Mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Latin mergus ‘diver’ (from mergere ‘to dive’) + anser ‘goose’.
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