Black Scoter Life History


Habitat OceansBreeds on small lakes. Winters in coastal waters, especially over rocky bottoms.Back to top


Food Aquatic invertebratesAquatic invertebrates, especially aquatic insects and mollusks, a little vegetation.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Hollow in ground near water, lined with grass and down, placed in large clumps of grass on tundra.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:8-9 eggs
Number of Broods:1 brood
Egg Length:2.5-2.6 in (6.26-6.53 cm)
Egg Width:1.7-1.8 in (4.4-4.5 cm)
Incubation Period:27-28 days
Egg Description:Off-white to pinkish buff.
Condition at Hatching:Downy and eyes open. Leave nest soon after they dry. Feed themselves immediately.
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Behavior Surface DiveDives for prey on or near bottom.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernCommon. Populations may be declining. They are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.Back to top


Bellrose, F. C. (1976). Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America. Second edition. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA, USA.

Bordage, Daniel and Jean-Pierre L. Savard. (2011). Black Scoter (Melanitta americana), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2019). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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