Black Scoter

Melanitta nigra

Black Scoters are annual in the Pribilof Island. On a typical year a few small flocks will be found in spring and very early summer, and then in September numbers begin to grow as breeding birds make their way south. The most reliable spot on the island to see Black Scoters is from Marunich, although flyby birds could occur virtually anywhere. During spring Black Scoters are usually outnumbered by White-winged scoters and will often travel with White-winged flocks. Male Black Scoters are best identified by their all black plumage, lack of a white eye patch, and by the orange casque at the base their bill. The female’s pale cheeks and throat set them apart from their larger White-winged relatives. Flocks of scoters should be looked over thoroughly as an accidental Surf Scoter could always be lurking in their midst.