SEA DUCK IDENTIFICATION
Cranes | Dabbling Ducks | Diving Ducks | Flamingo | Geese
Shelducks | Shovelers | Swans | Whistling Ducks
   There are six different species of Sea Duck found at WWT Slimbridge: -
   Click thumbnails to enlarge
Bufflehead (Slimbridge 17/05/14) Eider (Slimbridge 09/04/11) Goldeneye (Slimbridge 26/05/12)
Bufflehead
Eider
Goldeneye
Merganser (Slimbridge 09/04/11) Hooded Merganser (Slimbridge 09/04/11) Smew (Slimbridge 26/05/12)
Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Smew
   To aid identification we shall compare various significant parts of the Sea Ducks: -
   The Head, Bill and Eyes
   Click thumbnails to enlarge
Bufflehead Eider Goldeneye Merganser Hooded Merganser Smew
Bufflehead
Eider
Goldeneye
Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Smew
   The Breast and Body
   Click thumbnails to enlarge
Bufflehead Plumage Eider Plumage Goldeneye Plumage Merganser Plumage Hooded Merganser Plumage Smew Plumage
Bufflehead
Eider
Goldeneye
Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Smew
   The Tail
   Click thumbnails to enlarge
Bufflehead Plumage Eider Plumage Goldeneye Plumage Merganser Plumage Hooded Merganser Plumage Smew Plumage
Bufflehead
Eider
Goldeneye
Merganser
Hooded Merganser
Smew
   Identification Overview
   Bufflehead.
   Has an irridescent Black head and upper neck with a large White patch from the eye round to the back of
   the head creating a crest. The bill is Blue/Grey and the eyes are Brown. The upperparts are Black, lower
   neck and underparts are White. The legs and feet are Pink.
   Eider.
   A Black head with White cheeks and a Green/Grey nape. The breast and upperparts are White, the flanks
   Black, a Black rump and tail. The distinctive bill is Green/Grey and the feet and legs are Olive Green.
   Goldeneye.
   A Green/Black head with a round White patch on the cheek in front of a Deep 'Golden' Yellow eye and a
   Black bill. The neck, breast, belly and flanks are White. The tail and back are Black with White scapulars.
   The legs and feet are Orange/Yellow.
   Merganser.
   A Black iridescent Green crest, head and neck, Red hooked bill, Black upperparts, White Breast with a
   Salmon/Pink tinge and flanks, White underparts wirh a Grey tail and rump. The feet and
   legs are Red/Orange.
   Hooded Merganser.
   The Hooded Merganser has a black head with a large white patch from behind the yellow eye to its bushy
   crest which can be expanded or contracted. The neck and back are black with a black band across a white
   breast, reddish-brown flanks, and a thin black bill.
   Smew.
   Has White plumage, a Black eye patch down the the dark Grey bill, a White crest with Black at the base.
   The back rump and wings have Grey/Black markings and the sides are light Grey with dark vermiculations.
   The legs and feet are Grey.
   Now that we have identified the Sea Ducks, where can we find them at WWT Slimbridge?
   They can be found in the following zones: -
   Bufflehead. - Found in the North America Zone.
   Eider. - Found in the Tundra Zone.
   Goldeneye. - Found in the Tundra Zone.
   Merganser. - Found in the Tundra Zone.
   Hooded Merganser. - Found in the North America Zone.
   Smew. - Found in the Tundra Zone.
   Did You Know?
      The Bufflehead is named from 'Buffalo' and 'Head' due to its oddly shaped bulbous head.
      The Eider duck was farmed for the down which was used for making quilts resulting in the term
       'eiderdown'.
      The eyes of the Goldeneye are Grey/Brown when hatched and turn to Purple, Blue and then Green as
       they age. By the time they have matured their eyes have become bright Yellow.
      The Merganser has serrated edges to their bills helping them grip their prey resulting in their name
       'sawbills'.
      The Hooded Merganser has a third clear eyelid which allows prey to be caught by sight whilst swimming
       under water.