Living Bird Magazine
Surf ScoterMelanitta perspicillata
- ORDER: Anseriformes
- FAMILY: Anatidae
A black-and-white seaduck common on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in winter, the Surf Scoter has a boldly patterned head that is the basis for its colloquial name "skunk-headed coot."More ID Info
- Negrón Careto (Spanish)
- Macreuse à front blanc (French)
- Cool Facts
- The Surf Scoter breeds on freshwater lakes, where the male defends a moving area around the female. The female with a brood is not territorial.
- Accidental exchanges of young among Surf Scoter broods are frequent on crowded lakes. Because the mother provides no parental care other than guarding the chicks, evolutionary selection to prevent such mixups may not be very strong.
- Nonbreeding Surf Scoters (mainly immatures) do not necessarily go to the breeding grounds in summer. Instead they spend the summer primarily along marine coasts southward to Baja California and New Jersey, where they frequent bays and estuaries.
- The oldest recorded Surf Scoter was a male, and at least 11 years, 7 months old when he was found in Maryland in 2015. He had been banded in the Newfoundland/Labrador area in 2004.