Wildlife in Italy: Goosander Mergus serrator L.

Wildlife in Italy: Goosander Mergus serrator L.

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Anderiformi
Family: Anatidi
Kind: Mergus
Species: M. serrator L.

Its nesting habitat is lakes and freshwater rivers throughout northern North America, Greenland, Europe and Asia. Migration runs from mid-August to mid-December and from March to April; the breeding area is in Northern Europe and the wintering area further south, in the Mediterranean coasts, including Italy. It also breeds in Italy.

Goosander male - Mergus serrator L. (photo www.oiseaux.net/)

Mergansers, female and male - Mergus serrator L. (photo www.oiseaux.net/)

Goosander pair - Mergus serrator L.

Distinctive characters

Length: 52 - 58 cm
Wingspan 67 - 82 cm
Weight: grams

It has a pointed crest and a long, thin red beak with serrated edges. Adult males have dark heads with green reflections, a white neck with a rusty chest, a black back and white lower regions. Adult females have a rusty head and a grayish body. The young are like the female, but they have no white collar and have a smaller spot on the wings.
The call of the female is a free-range prrak prrak, while that of the male is a slender series of sobs and sneezes.
It can be confused with Goosander, especially the females among them.


It is a gregarious species during the winter. It frequents deep waters where it searches for food by diving. By frequenting open areas it is easily observable when it is laid and also when it is in flight. This is tense, fast and without sudden changes of direction and often near the water. Like the other plunging ducks, it performs the fly after a run-up on the water. It can also be temporarily associated with other species, such as grebes, which share a similar habitat.

Video: National Geographic - Italian Wildlife - New Documentary HD 2018