Black Scoter

common scoter
Drake Black Scoter distinguished from other North American scoters by bright yellow bill knob and lack of white anywhere.

Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra americana), formerly referred to as the Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra)now differentiated as New World subspecies of the Eurasian Common Scoter but possibly worthy of full species status. The North American species is a medium-sized, velvety black sea duck distinguished by swollen, brightly colored yellow-orange bill knob. Remainder of bill is glossy black.

As seen at a distance, imagine seeing a little lemon or pumpkin resting on the bill. The rest of the bill matches the black plumage, legs, and feet. Black scoter hens lack the bill knob, but have the same, short black bill and display brown plumage with light gray brushed under the eyes. Immature males look similar to breeding females but to have a smaller, yellow knob that the breeding males possess.