White-winged Scoter

Melanitta fusca

This is the most regularly occurring species of Scoter in the Pribilof Islands. On a typical year one or two flocks of this species are seen in spring and occasionally in fall. Rarely flocks or individuals will linger around the island’s shores all summer. Two subspecies of White-winged Scoter have occurred in the Bering Sea. The North American form,deglandi, is the only form that has been identified in the Pribilofs. The Siberian subspecies,stejnegeri, has appeared a few times in the North Bering Sea and has potential to arrive near the Pribilofs. The separation of these two subspecies (regarded by many as excellent candidates for full species status) requires very close views. Look for the more casqued bill, and extensive orange that extends up the bill of the Siberian form. The North American birds show an orange tipped bill and a small casque. Good spots to look for flocks of scoters include the breakwater of the town’s harbor, SW Point, Webster Seawatch and Marunich.