Surf Scoter

Waterfowl Identification

The Surf Scoter, Melanitta perspicillata, drake is all black except for two white patches on the back of the neck and the forehead, distinguishing it from other scoters, along with the distinctive, multi-colored bill which is red, white and yellow with a large black spot on the side. Hens have a dark brown head and body, whitish patches at the base of the bill and behind the eye. Surf Scoters breed in Alaska and across northern Canada. They overwinter along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts feeding in the surf.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS

Like all scoters, these birds move along our coasts in loose flocks, stringing into irregular, wavy lines. Flight is strong, direct, usually close to the waves.

Length: 19 1/2"
Weight: 2 lbs.


 Distribution Map

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Last Updated: November 14, 2018