Black Scoter

photo by Phil Swanson

Melanitta nigra
L 19″(48 cm).

Song or calls:
Most vocal of Scoters. Displaying males, whistled “coar-loo.”

Description: Totally black. Orange swelling on upper mandible. Female is dark brown, with dark crown and nape, and pale face and throat.

Behavior: Mating display consists of male splashing and whistling around female.

Habitat: Migrants found on lakes, reservoirs, and larger rivers. Winter on coast.

Where in Nebraska: Rare migrant. Usually seen during fall, in scattered locations across the state. Rarest of Scoters in the state.

Fun Facts: While performing the “wing-flap” display of splashing around in the water, they will thrust their head downward making their neck appear to be broken.

Black Scoter - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)