Mergus albellus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 209 (1766) ; Wils. Am. Orn. viii. p. 126, pl. 71 ; Naum. xii. p. 314, Taf. 324 ; Audubon, B. Am. vi. p. 408, pl. 414 ; Gould, B. of E. v. pl. 387 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 37 ; Dresser, vi. p. 699, pls. 454, 455 ; Salvadori, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvii. p. 464 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 1208 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 467 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 259 ; Saunders, p. 475 ; Lilford, vii. p. 141 ; pl. 60 ; Bidgway, p. 90.
Petit Harle huppe, French ; Pesciajola, Ital. ; Kleiner Sager, German ; Nonnetje, Dutch ; Hvid-skallesluger, Nonne, Dan. ; Hvid-Fiskand, Norw. ; Salskrake, Swed. ; Uinelo, Ungilo, Herna Finn. ; Lutok, Paganka, Russ. ; Nihenna, Hindu. ; Miko-aisa Jap.
Male ad. (Holland). General plumage white except as follows : lores and a large patch round the eye, a nuchal patch, middle of the back, a narrow line on the upper breast and a mark close to the base of the wing on the sides deep black ; primaries blackish ; secondaries, except the inner ones and primary coverts black, tipped with white ; scapulars tipped with black ; rump blackish ; upper tail-coverts greyish brown, tipped with dull white ; flanks vermiculated with black ; bill and legs pale plumbeous, the nail paler ; iris silvery white. Culmen 1.25, wing 7.6, tail 3.8, tarsus 1.3 inch. The female has the crown, nape, and hind neck reddish brown ; lores and space round the eye dark brown ; upper parts brown, greyish on the upper back ; lower parts white, the upper breast washed with slate- grey ; wings duller than in the male ; flanks washed with greyish brown. In the summer the male resembles the female but has the upper parts darker ; the facial patch, and the semilunar mark on the sides of the breast black.
Hab. North Europe and Asia, north into Finnish Lapland and Kamchatka, in winter ranging south to Britain and the coasts of Europe to the Mediterranean, and in Asia to Japan, Corea, China, and India ; of rare and occasional occurrence in North-east America.
In habits it resembles M. serrator, but appears to frequent fresh water more than that species. It is also an expert diver, and feeds on small fish, aquatic insects, small frogs, etc. It breeds in hollow trees, lining the nest hollow with down, and in June deposits 6 to 8 eggs, which resemble those of the Wigeon, but are much more polished in surface of shell, and measure about 2.05 by 1.48.
881. Mergus albellus