Surf Scoter

surf scoterSurf Scoter (Melanitta perspicilatta) is a common sea duck that often socializes in large groups with Black and White-winged scoters. The male Surf Scoter’s distinctive features include a mostly black body with white patches on their forehead and the back of the neck, prominent knob on the bill, and icy white eyes. The Surf Scoter is also known as a “skunkhead” because of the white plumage on their heads.

The brightly colored and relatively enormous drake Surf Scoter bill and white head patches make it unmistakable. Females surf scoters have brown plumage with white brushed along the cheeks and underbelly and have the same “humped” bill that is light gray. The wings of both sexes are similar, with dark brown primaries and black speculum; their wings also create a whistling sound that can be heard up to half a mile away when conditions are right.