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White-winged Scoter


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large black duck of coastal waters, the White-winged Scoter breeds farther inland than the other two scoter species and is the one most likely to appear inland on lakes and rivers during migration.


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large, stocky diving duck.
  • Black.
  • White patch in wings.
  • Male with white comma-shaped patch around eyes.
  • Female with whitish patches on face.

Male Description

Entirely black, without gloss. Inverted comma-shaped white patch surrounding eyes. Pale edges to body feathers may produce scalloping or barring on back and sides. Belly sometimes white. Bill black at base, including the hump, with reddish sides, and orange nail. Eyes white. Legs red, with black webs and joints.

Female Description

Dark brownish. Head may be all dark, or have poorly defined light patches at base of bill and on cheek. Bill dark grayish black with reddish wash and light band next to nail. Eyes dark brown. Legs and feet reddish with black webs.

Immature Description

Similar to adult female but with paler belly and more distinct face patches.

Range Map Help

White-winged Scoter Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult female and male

    White-winged Scoter

    Adult female and male

    White-winged Scoter

    • © Tim Lenz, Sodus Bay, New York, January 2013
  • Adult male

    White-winged Scoter

    Adult male
    • © Nick Dean, Blaine, Washington, October 2011
  • Female

    White-winged Scoter

  • Immature

    White-winged Scoter

    • © Greg Moyers, Virginia, February 2011

Similar Species

  • Female Surf Scoter with similar whitish face patches, but has a more capped look with more white on the cheeks, lacks large white patch in wings, and has a more stepped forehead.
  • Black Scoter male is all black with an orange bill and a round head. Female has a dark cap and clean whitish cheeks, not patches, a rounded head, and lacks white wing patches.



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