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Female Merganser ID, Guangxi China (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Location: Baise, Guangxi, China in December

On large reservoir observed two pairs of mergansers. First pair were both clearly Scaly-sided, as shown in the first two photos.

However, later in the day we observed a second pair of birds. The male was clearly Scaly-sided, and I originally assumed the female was too just because of association. I did however, notice that the wing pattern of the female was different in flight from the female seen earlier (lacking a dark black line through the mostly white speculum). After looking at photos later, my son noticed the bill of the 2nd female is also quite different from the bill of the other birds. Rather than being mostly straight and pretty uniformly orange (with light tip), the bill has a distinct black tip that is hooked, as well as a more slim and sloped overall shape. I've attached photos (last five photos) which show both the wing pattern and bill of the second female. Am I correct to think this female is a Common Merganser? It doesn't show the white chin I might expect in Common Merganser. Would it be odd for the two species to be hanging out together as a pair (repeatedly flew together).



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Yes, The second female clearly is a goosander Mergus merganser, due to head shape, white speculum and no black line, bill shape and pale chin just visible...

It seems likely to me that the two species hang out together ... I live here at an inland site where redbreasted merganser is rare, but when they occur (in most cases as single birds) , they tend to associate with goosander. In one case in Switzerland (even more fare from the sea) a mixed species pair and hatching of hybrids was observed if I remeber correctly , so I can easily accept a goosander associating with scaly sided merganser
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