Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sea Otter kills Red-breasted Merganser

22 February 2013

I spent the morning birding & photographing at Moss Landing & Elkhorn Slough, when to my horror I witnessed a certainly unusual event...

A California Sea Otter caught and killed a male Red-breasted Merganser in the Moss Landing harbor.

After the otter attacked the merganser, he was able to get free for a few seconds, but the otter was able to swim faster and quickly recaptured the duck.  It appeared that the merganser at that point was unable to fly... only able to splash frantically and try to escape.  If that wasn't sad enough, I then noticed a female merganser swimming all alone nearby looking everywhere...

I thought otters eat sea urchins, clams, mussels, etc... not ducks.  I had never seen such behavior!



  1. Wow, that's a really interesting story an group of photos. I love nature in the raw. I've never heard of otters eating birds before, but I guess this one is an "opportunivore" - another name for the "see food diet". While I love birds, and Mergansers are gorgeous, I never begrudge any critter the meals that they choose (as long as they're not trying to eat me). Watching a successful hunt is always a privilege and a treat to me.

    1. Thanks for the comment... and I agree.

      Living in the 'wild' makes many successful species adapt to do whatever it takes. You especially see this on safari in Africa... where the "Circle of Life" is on display all the time. Dave