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Dieren en planten

Ducks   Shoveler   Teal   Shelduck   Mallard duck   Wigeon   Eider   Red-breasted merganser   Swimming birds   

Red-breasted merganser


51-62 centimeters; 70-86 centimeters wingspan

color (adults):

male: black green head with notable 2-spiked crest and long red beak
female: brown head, brown spiky crest, long red bill


small fish, crustaceans, worms, small molluscs, insects

Dutch status:

scarse nesting bird, nests primarily in the delta region; winter guest


breeds near freshwater; otherwise found at sea


8-10 eggs

life span:

unknown (maximum known age: + 21 years)

special nature:

long narrow serrated bill

  • Dut: Middelste zaagbek
  • Eng: Red-breasted merganser
  • Fren: Harle huppe
  • Ger: Mittelsäger
  • Dan: Toppet Skallesluger
  • Nor: Siland
  • Frisian: Bünte Dükein
  • Ital: Smergo minore
  • Lat: Mergus serrator
Red-breasted merganser, foto fitis, adriaan dijksen

Red-breasted merganser

The red-breasted merganser is a decorative bird, with its spiky head crest and contrasting red bill. It dives down to 4 meters to catch fish, using its eyes to find them. The bill with its serrated teeth is ideal for holding onto its slippery prey. It's not hard to understand that clear clean water is very important for the red-breasted merganser. It breeds primarily in lakes in Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia.The nest is well hidden in thick reed vegetation. Since the 1980s, red-breasted mergansers have also been breeding in the Netherlands.

On Texel

Red-breasted mergansers are found on Texel during migration and the winter. They are seen in the Wadden Sea as well as the North Sea. They are never seen together in large groups here, at the most several dozen.

  • Distribution and habitat

    Red-breasted mergansers spend the winter at sea near water rich with fish. They are also found in brackish water. The western Wadden Sea, the IJsselmeer and the delta region are important Dutch areas to rest and forage during migration.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring, Red List
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention, Bonn Convention