Scaled merganser (lat. Mergus squamatus) is a bird from the duck family, which belongs to the mergansers genus. It has a rather specific appearance, mainly due to the color.
The peculiar appearance allowed the merganser to be a very memorable animal. A key feature is the long feathers on the head, which are more like a tuft combed back. Females do not have such long feathers, however, like young males, so only adult males have the main property of this species. In addition, due to the different coloration of the head, it is not difficult to distinguish a female from a male. The male has a black head color, and the female is brown, and given the length of the feathers, it immediately becomes clear to the naked eye who is who. This is probably the only difference from other mergansers. Their physique is normal, dense, but not very fat, there are membranes on the paws, and the tail is not very long. The mass of the body is only a kilogram, but it can be more.
Lifestyle and behavior
Representatives of this species do not form flocks with a large number of individuals, so basically the number of birds in each varies from ten to twenty. The scaly merganser prefers to nest in hollows of trees. It is also noteworthy that this bird from year to year returns to the same hollow, where it breeds and continues its kind. Outwardly, they do not at all look like birds nesting in hollows, which is why hunters who have never seen this sight often go into a stupor.
Where do they live
The main habitat is the Far East of Eurasia and the North-Eastern part of China. Approximately 90 or even 95 percent of the world population is located on the territory of Eurasia, so it is quite obvious that in order to preserve the species, it is necessary to develop full-fledged protection measures, because poachers do not wait. Wintering of individuals of this species takes place in Asia, since it is there that the climate is quite acceptable for them.
For a full life, birds try to choose a territory with a lot of food, so they have to settle near fast rivers, because it is there that most of the fish that mergansers love so much. Another significant factor is the transparency of the water, because the main means of finding food for birds is sight, and pollution of water bodies destroys the population, since animals cannot eat normally.
What do they eat
Like most wild ducks, the scaly merganser in its diet consumes mostly river fish, which it catches with its strong paws and beak.
The puberty of female scaly merganser occurs in the third year of life, so only then can they produce offspring. The breeding season is in mid or late spring. The couple tries to occupy the territory near the river bank, because there it will get food without any problems and be able to feed the chicks. The number of eggs in a clutch varies from four to ten, but sometimes it can exceed these figures. Chicks are born in early June or late May, and incubation lasts about a month.