Wildlife in Italy: Pesciaiola Mergellus albellus

Wildlife in Italy: Pesciaiola Mergellus albellus

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidi
Kind: Mergellus
Species: M. albellus L., 1758

It occupies a very wide range that extends from Sweden to Finland almost to the eastern edge of the continent; by migrating it leaves its reproductive areas and heads to the sheltered coasts or inland lakes of the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Baltic Sea. It also winters in Northern Germany and the Netherlands and a small number also reach Great Britain. It is a species that is found mainly near slow-flowing currents where there are tall forests of the Asian, Russian and Scandinavian taiga, and is concentrated in the winter in the freshwater marsh areas of Central Eastern Europe.

Pair of fishmongers - Mergellus albellus (photo

Fishmonger male - Mergellus albellus (photo

Female of Pesciaiola - Mergellus albellus (photo

Distinctive characters

Length: 25 cm
Weight: 0.5-0.8 kg

The male of Pesciaiola, with its shattered ice appearance, is unmistakable, and in flight its white and black tint can be recognized very well. Immature females and males are gray birds with brown foreheads and heads. The beak of the fishmonger has a hooked tip and serrated edges.


It feeds mainly on small fish in winter; in the other seasons, it prefers insects even if in captivity it has become very accustomed to feed and is very fond of moth of flour. It nests in the hollows of trees; the nest is a small depression, covered with the plant material available and with a lot of duvet. The eggs deposited in late spring, hatch after 26/28 days and the young ones become independent around 60/70 days.

Video: Mandarin Duck u0026 Wood Ducks in the Wild (July 2022).


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