Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage

Red-breasted Merganser

Wing Character Male Female
Adult Immature Immature Adult
TertialsThree or four most distal mostly white with wide black margins on outer webs; two more proximal are black; all have bluntly pointed tipsOuter web of most distal is white with a wide black margin; others are dark gray with dark marginal stripes on one or more; tips are pointed and usually frayedMore distal are gray- white with wide dark marginal stripes
Greater tertial covertsMost are white with smoothly rounded tipsAll are dark gray-black and taper to tips which are usually frayedAll are shiny black with smoothly rounded tips
Greater secondary covertsDo not completely cover dark bases of secondaries on normally spread wing
Proximal 2/3 is white to tipsProximal 2/3 is white or gray at tipsProximal 2/3 is white with a black band (sometimes poorly defined) at tips
Middle and lesser secondary covertsDo not completely cover dark bases of greater coverts on normally spread wing
Entirely whiteDark gray with females slightly darker than malesVery dark gray to black

JPG-Adult male red-breasted merganser JPG-Adult female red-breasted merganser JPG-Immature red-breasted merganser

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