Nests & Eggs: Hooded Sheldrake

Plate 49: Hooded Sheldrake (Merganser)

Lophodytes cucullatus

Common on small ponds and rivers, their crests make them easy to spot.


The male Hooded Merganser is one of our most striking birds and cannot easily be confused with any other species. The Hooded Merganser may be found along a quiet stretch of a small stream where the handsome males, at rest, do not display their high crests. In such mood the head has much the appearance of that of the other species of Fish Duck—thin, long, and snake-like. When rising, the birds beat their wings with amazing rapidity, the white speculum in the wings flickering brilliantly. This species is not so often found in swift water as are the Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser.

An Introduction to the Birds of Pennsylvania
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the selection in Nests and Eggs below out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XLIX: Hooded Sheldrake, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the hooded merganser at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Hooded Sheldrake (Merganser) Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Hooded Merganser
Bird picture for notebook.

Hooded Merganser Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series


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