Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

(Fig. 01)
Area Description: I captured these pictures while hiking up the Riverwalk Exploration Trail that runs along the Colorado River that runs downstream from the Davis Dam inside the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park.  Two females (upper left) and two males (bottom) can be seen in (Fig. 02)
(Fig. 02)

Description:  The Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a small duck and is the only member of the genus Lophodytes. Hooded Mergansers are the second smallest species of merganser and is also the only Merganser whose native habitat is restricted to North America.  Hooded Mergansers have a crest at the back of the head which can be expanded or contracted. In the male Mergansers, the crest is a large white patch, the head is black and the sides of the duck are a reddish-brown. Adult females have a reddish crest, with much of the rest of the head and body a greyish-brown. The Hooded Merganser has a long sawbill but is not classified as a typical merganser. Their preferred habitat is in swamps and wooded ponds of the northern half of the United States and southern Canada. They prefer to nest in tree cavities near water, but will use Wood Duck nesting boxes if available and unoccupied. They form pairs in early winter. The male leaves the female soon after she lays her eggs, leaving her responsible for all incubation. After hatching, chicks leave the nest with their mother within 24 hours; they are already able to dive and feed themselves, although they remain with their mother for another five weeks. These ducks feed by diving and swimming under water to collect small fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. They find their prey underwater by sight.
(Fig. 03)