Hooded Merganser

Lophodytes cucollatus

Hooded Mergansers breed no closer to the Pribilof Islands than the Alaskan Panhandle. Along the coast, they are largely resident, so the closest migratory populations to the Pribilofs are likely found in central British Columbia. Hooded Mergansers are regarded as casual in the Bering Sea region and rare anywhere in Alaska outside of their breeding range. There is only one record for the Pribilof Islands, of a male on October 27, 1961. The puffy crest and thin bill, and brownish flanks will quickly narrow the field of identification choices to the Mergansers. Common and Red-breasted Mergansers are larger, with red bills in all plumages. Smew are slightly smaller than Hooded Mergansers, have shorter and stubbier bills and either gray or white flanks. Although unlikely to re-occur during the normal tour season, this species could show up in one of the island’s freshwater lakes in fall.