Scoters: Seaducks

Black Scoter

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) - Male

The scoters are stocky seaducks that breed in the far north of Europe, Asia and North America, and winter further south in temperate zones of those continents.

These ducks form large flocks on suitable coastal waters.


The males re mostly black and have swollen bills. Females are brown.


Thei build their nests on the ground - typically close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra.

Velvet ScoterThere are five species, grouped into two subgenera:

Relevant Resources

White-winged Scoter

Black or American Scoter (Melanitta americana)Diet / Feeding:

Scoters dive for crustaceans and mollusks.

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae usually found under rocks, aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks ...

We all enjoy ducks and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around - and it works! Who doesn't like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird - so it's best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves - providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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