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Surf Scoter - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:11, 1 March 2022 by Deliatodd-18346 (talk | contribs) (→‎External Links: Additional GSearch for common name, GSearch amended for new platform)
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Adult male
Photo © by mikyip
Deep Bay, British Columbia, Canada, 24 November 2004
Melanitta perspicillata


Photo © by Bob Sheldon
Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, New Jersey, USA, 16 January 20100

44-48 cm (17¼-19 in)

  • Black plumage
  • White patches on the nape and forehead
  • Bulbous red, yellow and white bill


  • Brown with pale head patches and dark cap.


Juvenile Male
Photo © by digishooter
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve: Orange County, California, January 2007

Northern North America; winters to Baja California and southern US.


Photo © by eastwood
Iona, Canada, 3 December 2006

This is a monotypic species[1].


Freshwater lakes, rivers, woodland and tundra for breeding. Winters in nearshore ocean waters.



The clutch of 5-9 eggs is laid in a ground nest. Incubation takes around 28-30 days; fledging a further 55 days.


The diet includes crustaceans and molluscs, the young eat freshwater invertebrates.


Breeding male utters low whistled notes; female gives guttural krrrak call.


Migratory, with adult males leaving breeding grounds as early as mid June, failed females in third to fourth week of July, and successful females in early August. They move initially to moulting sites such as coastal Labrador, the St Lawrence estuary, Hudson and James Bays, Mackenzie Delta, Alaska and British Columbia. They winter at sea along Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Anderson, E. M., R. D. Dickson, E. K. Lok, E. C. Palm, J. L. Savard, D. Bordage, and A. Reed (2020). Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.sursco.01
  3. Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52921 on 20 March 2020).
  4. Avibase
  5. Wikipedia contributors. (2020, March 17). Surf scoter. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:20, March 20, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Surf_scoter&oldid=946074035

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