Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae
BTO Codes: RM, REBME EURING No: 2210
Number in Britain: 2200 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 55 cm Wingspan: 78 cm Weight: M/F: 1.1 kg    
Scientific name from: L.: mergus=a waterbird and L.: serra=a saw
World Distribution: BREEDS: n Eurasia & n North America, WINTERS: south to Mediterranean, Black Seas & n Mexico
Habitat: Lakes, rivers, on migration also seacoasts
Diet: Primarily fish, often pursued by swimming short distances
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 2200 Pairs in
    Winter: 8400 individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Middle Pleistocene, c. 500,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. (1993) The atlas of breeding birds in in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991 T & AD Poyser
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 64 to 108 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 65 x 45 mm Egg Weight: 72.0 g (of which 8 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 4
Clutch Size: 8 - 10 eggs
Incubation: 31- 32 days   by the: Female
Fledging: 60 - 65days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: No data
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: Typical Lifespan: No data
Maximum Recorded Age: 12 years 0 months 15 days (set in 2001)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: G or F*
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Gaelic: Sìolta-dhearg Welsh: Hwyaden Frongoch
Danish: Toppet skallesluger Dutch: Middelste zaagbek
Finnish: Tukkakoskelo French: Harle huppé
German: Mittelsäger Hungarian: Örvös bukó
Icelandic: Toppönd Irish: Síolta Rua
Italian: Smergo minore Norwegian: Siland
Polish: Szlachar Portuguese: Merganso-de-poupa
Spanish: Serreta mediana Swedish: Småskrake

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Kear, J 2005 Ducks, geese and swans Oxford University Press [598.48 KEA]
   Cabot, D. 2009 Wildfowl Collins, London
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)