Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
The smallest member of merganser species in North America. Sexually dimorphic. All year around although they need a lake or slow flowing and river which isn't frozen in winter as they dive for small fishes and capture them with their sawbill.
How to Identify
Male black and white pattern of head and neck is typical and a clear characteristic to identify Hooded Merganser. Luckily, I usually see them in pairs, male and female. The crest form, the proportion of the neck and size allow the identification of females.
Where and When to Spot
Although reported to be around all year long, I usually see them in late autumn and winter when they are catching small fishes in open waters. For me the best place to observe them, is Rapids Park Lachine.