Goosander - Mergus merganser


    This handsome diving duck is a member of the sawbill family, so called because of their long, serrated bills, used for catching fish.

    Whilst the male Goosander is easily distinguished from the male Red-breasted Merganser, the females of both species are very similar.  See text of Red-breasted Merganser.

    Identification difficulty

    Upland rivers of northern England, Scotland and Wales in summer. In winter they move to lakes, gravel pits and reservoirs, occasionally to sheltered estuaries.

    When to see it

    All year in breeding range but only in winter across England south of the Humber.

    Life History

    A largely freshwater bird, the Goosander first bred in the UK in 1871. It built up numbers in Scotland and then since 1970 it has spread across northern England into Wales, reaching south-western England. Its love of salmon and trout has brought it into conflict with fishermen. It is gregarious, forming into flocks of several thousand in some parts of Europe.

    UK Status

    Widespread in Britain - more common in the winter

    VC55 Status

    Fairly common as a winter bird of passage in Leicestershire and Rutland

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map