Hooded mergansers are the smallest North American mergansers. They are often seen in pairs, or very small flocks. Short, rapid wing strokes create an impression of great speed.
The hooded merganser is one of two cavity-nesting ducks that regularly breed in Ohio. (The other is the wood duck.) Hooded mergansers often use wood duck boxes, and, because of the increased availability of nesting space, the amount of hooded merganser nesters has increased. The female lays 5-15 eggs and incubates them for 32-33 days. She incubates and raises the young alone and the young fledge about 71 days after hatching.