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Species Code: LOCUC
Breeding Range Map
Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)Map with Breeding Bird Atlas records
This species is common in freshwater lakes, ponds, sloughs, and slow-moving rivers with emergent vegetation (preferably cattails) at lower elevations west of the Cascade crest. They are generally found below 3000 feet, but are absent from the outer coast in southwest Washington where the terrain is relatively flat and often sandy. In eastern Washington they are uncommon at lower elevations and absent from the hottest and driest parts of the Columbia Basin. They are mostly limited to forest zones of the more northern counties, but also occupy part of the Ponderosa Pine/Artemisia transition area. Hooded Mergansers breed in tree cavities and often occupy Wood Duck boxes.
Good habitat in the core areas of use included all freshwater bodies and wetlands in western Washington below the Silver Fir zone, and in eastern Washington in steppe zones along the northern Basin perimeter, as well as in Ponderosa Pine, Interior Douglas-fir, Grand Fir, Interior Redcedar, and Interior Western Hemlock zones. Since Hooded Mergansers often nest in small wetlands below our mapping resolution, low-density development and forests were included knowing there may be smaller pockets of habitat suitable for them.
This species is fairly easy to find in its suitable habitat in western Washington. In eastern Washington however, it is sporadically distributed along northern river valleys, particularly along the Okanogan River, Curlew Creek, the Colville River, and the Pend Oreille River. No confirmed breeding records exist from Chelan County, yet one is found from Kittitas County. Most records in the northeast and east central Cascades are at fairly low elevations. Most of the east slope of the Cascades in those areas may be too rugged (in comparison to the mountains in northeastern Washington), or sampling may be inadequate. Hooded Mergansers are fairly adaptable, nesting in many types of wetlands. They are generally found in fast-flowing rivers.
Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester