Irish Name: Síolta mhór
Scientific name: Mergus merganser
Bird Family: Ducks
Conservation status


Resident at larger lakes in Counties Wicklow and Donegal. Rare winter visitor throughout Ireland.


Large, long-bodied, with a long narrow red bill ending in a hook. Swimming birds often retract their long necks. Adult males largely white with glossy green-black neck and head. Back largely black. Females with dark red-brown head, though with a white throat patch, greyish body.


Male call is deep muffled 'krroo-krraa'.


Goosanders feed largely on small and medium sized fish, and occasionally larger fish such as Pike.


Breed on freshwater lakes and pools and winter on large unfrozen lakes and brackish lagoons and occasionally on coastal estuaries. The most recent breeding records in Ireland come from County Wicklow, where one pair was confirmed breeding in 1994, and annual breeding has since been deemed likely, though not confirmed


Irish birds appear to be largely resident. Birds from Continental Europe can occasionally found along coastal areas in winter.

Monitored by

I-WeBS and BirdTrack.

Similar Species

Red-breasted Merganser

Irish Name:
Síolta rua
Scientific name:
Mergus serrator
Bird Family: