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Goosander

Mergus merganser

Síolta mhór

Status: Resident at larger lakes in Counties Wicklow and Donegal. Rare winter visitor throughout Ireland.

Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland, due to its small breeding population. The European population has been assessed as Secure.

Identification: Large, long-bodied, with a long narrow red bill ending in a hook. Swimming birds often retract their long necks. Adult males largely white with glossy green-black neck and head. Back largely black. Females with dark red-brown head, though with a white throat patch, greyish body.

Similar Species: Red-breasted Merganser.

Call: Male call is deep muffled 'krroo-krraa'.

Diet: Goosanders feed largely on small and medium sized fish, and occasionally larger fish such as Pike.

Breeding: Breed on freshwater lakes and pools and winter on large unfrozen lakes and brackish lagoons and occasionally on coastal estuaries. The most recent breeding records in Ireland come from County Wicklow, where one pair was confirmed breeding in 1994, and annual breeding has since been deemed likely, though not confirmed.

Wintering: Irish birds appear to be largely resident. Birds from Continental Europe can occasionally found along coastal areas in winter.

Where to See: Found on freshwater. Belfast Lough in County Down and Lough Tay & Dan in County Wicklow are the most regularly used wintering areas.

Monitored by: I-WeBS and BirdTrack.

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