Surf Scoter is often referred to as "skunk-head coot" by hunters, a reference to
the male's strong black and white head patterning. They are most often
observed along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, where they can be quite
common. Small numbers over-winter on the Great Lakes every year, but they
are rarely found on other inland water bodies.
habitat is around lakes and slow-moving rivers in Canada and Alaska, primarily
in semi-open terrain. Primarily found in shallow coastal waters during
winter, with small numbers wintering on the Great Lakes. They are only
very rarely found inland on other water bodies in winter.
Diet: Primarily feeds on mollusks. Also will feed on
crustaceans, small fish, marine worms, aquatic insects, and aquatic plants.
Behavior: A diving duck, feeding by diving
underwater and propelling itself by its feet.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Often silent, but the male will whistle and
make low croaks during courtship.
Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada and Alaska. Winters along both the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Only a rare migrant in South
Conservation Status: Numbers took a serious dive
in the early 20th century, but populations have since rebounded and they are
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Surf Scoter
Photo Information: Winter 2002/2003 -- Barnegat
Inlet, New Jersey -- Chris