Surf Scoter

Melanitta perspicillata
L 20″(51 cm).

Song or calls:
Low croak and various grunts.

Description: Black. White patches on forehead and nape. White eye. Large bill has white-black and orange-red pattern. Female dark brown with two white patches on face, and no white wing patch.

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

Where in Nebraska: Rare casual spring migrant across the state. Rare regular fall migrant statewide.

Field Notes: The most abundant and most widely distributed of the 3 scoters breeding in North America. Well known in winter along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Fun Facts: Also called a “skunk-headed coot”.

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