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Common or Red-breasted Merganser – Maryland


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Shot last Sunday morning in Southern Maryland a few miles west of the Chesapeake, in a small pond, ¼ mile from a river. 

There were 5 birds total though only 4 are pictured.  The photos were shot through a screen of light brown twigs which makes parts of some of the birds appear lighter.  Can’t figure out if they are Common or Red-breasted Mergansers.  I’ve been seeing Common Mergansers nearby for the past couple of months, but always in the middle of the river, never in a pond.  Never seen Red-breasted at this location and county-wide far more Common Mergansers have been reported than Red-breasted.  In the few minutes I could see them, I did not see any of them lift up a crest so I'm thinking probably not Hooded Mergansers.   

Welcome everyone’s thoughts.

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I also feel there’s a distinct structure difference between HOME and RBME/COME. Hooded are way more short looking(from head to tail), and also have a larger, blockier head. There’s also a color difference that I have trouble describing, but hooded are more uniformly dark overall.

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