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Sawbill ducks are elegant, slender birds. They have elongated bills with sharp serrations to help the bird catch and hold small fish. There are two species of sawbill duck resident in Iceland - the more common (~4,000 pairs) red breasted meganser (mergus serrator) and the rarer goosander (mergus meganser) ~300 pairs.

The red breasted meganser is easily identified by its spiky crest. The male has a rust-red breast during the breeding season.
Megansers can be seen on lowland lakes throughout Iceland in the summer months with most spending the winter off the coast.

Red breasted meganser

The goosander closely resembles the meganser in shape and size, but the male has a white or buff breast during the breeding season and lacks the flampboyant hairstyle

The female goosander can be distinguished from the meganser by the sharp boundary between the brown head feathers and white breast. Although the goosander breeds throughout Iceland it is most often seen on and around Lake Mývatn

Images of sawbills

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