Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Anseriformes > Anatidae > Melanitta > Melanitta perspicillata

Melanitta perspicillata (Surf Scoter)

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Wikipedia Abstract

The surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) is a large sea duck, which breeds in Canada and Alaska. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek melas "black" and netta "duck". The species name is from the Latin perspicillatus, " spectacled", in turn derived from perspicere, "to see through". It is placed in the subgenus Melanitta, along with the velvet and white-winged scoters, distinct from the subgenus Oidemia, black and common scoters. Adult scoters of this species dive for crustaceans and molluscs, while the ducklings live off any variety of freshwater invertebrates.
View Wikipedia Record: Melanitta perspicillata

EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 5.01996
EDGE Score: 1.79508


Adult Weight [1]  2.42 lbs (1.10 kg)
Birth Weight [3]  62 grams
Female Maturity [5]  2 years
Male Maturity [5]  2 years
Breeding Habitat [2]  Boreal forests
Wintering Geography [2]  Coastal U.S./Canada
Wintering Habitat [2]  Coastal marine, Rocky intertidal
Diet [4]  Carnivore (Invertebrates), Granivore, Herbivore
Diet - Invertibrates [4]  80 %
Diet - Plants [4]  10 %
Diet - Seeds [4]  10 %
Forages - Underwater [4]  100 %
Clutch Size [6]  6
Global Population (2017 est.) [2]  700,000
Maximum Longevity [5]  9 years 6 months
Migration [7]  Intercontinental
Wing Span [8]  33 inches (.85 m)


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
Alaska Peninsula montane taiga United States Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Alaska-St. Elias Range tundra United States Nearctic Tundra
Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests Canada Nearctic Temperate Coniferous Forests
Arctic coastal tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra    
Arctic foothills tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra
Baja California desert Mexico Nearctic Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Bermuda subtropical conifer forests United Kingdom Nearctic Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests  
Brooks-British Range tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra
California coastal sage and chaparral Mexico, United States Nearctic Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub
Canadian Aspen forests and parklands Canada Nearctic Temperate Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands
Cook Inlet taiga United States Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Copper Plateau taiga United States Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Eastern Canadian forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Eastern Canadian Shield taiga Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Interior Alaska-Yukon lowland taiga Canada, United States Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Interior Yukon-Alaska alpine tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra
Low Arctic tundra Canada Nearctic Tundra
Mid-Continental Canadian forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Midwestern Canadian Shield forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Muskwa-Slave Lake forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Northern Canadian Shield taiga Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Northern Cordillera forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Northern transitional alpine forests Canada Nearctic Temperate Coniferous Forests
Northwest Territories taiga Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Ogilvie-MacKenzie alpine tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra
Pacific Coastal Mountain icefields and tundra Canada, United States Nearctic Tundra
Sonoran desert Mexico, United States Nearctic Deserts and Xeric Shrublands
Southern Hudson Bay taiga Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga
Yukon Interior dry forests Canada Nearctic Boreal Forests/Taiga

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Acadia National Park II 35996 Maine, United States
Aleutian Islands Biosphere Reserve 2720489 Alaska, United States    
Algonquin Provincial Park IV 1868802 Ontario, Canada
Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado Biosphere Reserve VI 2320468 Sonora, Mexico  
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA III 184543 California, United States
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Ib 12402936 Alaska, United States
Assateague Island National Seashore II 8621 Maryland, United States
Banff National Park II 1690912 Alberta, Canada
Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge IV 4842 Georgia, United States
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge VI 19192 Maryland, United States
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge VI 16363 Delaware, United States
Cabrillo National Monument V 149 California, United States
California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve 153447 California, United States  
Canaveral National Seashore II 9090 Florida, United States
Cape Breton Highlands National Park II 234333 Nova Scotia, Canada  
Cape Cod National Seashore II 21724 Massachusetts, United States
Cape Hatteras National Seashore II 21476 North Carolina, United States
Cape Lookout National Seashore II 18379 North Carolina, United States
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge IV 8964 South Carolina, United States
Carolinian-South Atlantic Biosphere Reserve 310228 North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, United States      
Central Gulf Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve 40530 United States  
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary   California, United States
Channel Islands National Park II 139010 California, United States
Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve 864738 British Columbia, Canada  
Cumberland Island National Seashore II 20629 Georgia, United States
Curecanti National Recreation Area V 31032 Colorado, United States
Dawlish Warren 145 England, United Kingdom
Death Valley National Park II 762125 California, Nevada, United States
Denali Biosphere Reserve 1932364 Alaska, United States
Dornoch Firth and Morrich More 21499 Scotland, United Kingdom
Effigy Mounds National Monument V 1296 Iowa, United States
Elk Island National Park II 47171 Alberta, Canada
Elkhorn Slough Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 964 California, United States  
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge IV 352 California, United States
Forillon National Park II 61010 Quebec, Canada  
Fort Pulaski National Monument V 4213 Georgia, United States
Fundy National Park II 52716 New Brunswick, Canada
Gates of the Arctic National Park Ib 184461 Alaska, United States
Gateway National Recreation Area V 1807 New Jersey, United States
George Washington Birthplace National Monument V 435 Virginia, United States
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Ib 591068 Alaska, United States
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area V 1087901 Arizona, Utah, United States
Golden Gate National Recreation Area V 26135 California, United States
Grand Canyon National Park II 1210128 Arizona, United States
Gros Morne National Park II 476632 Newfoundland, Canada
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve II 366714 British Columbia, Canada
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore II 8272 Indiana, United States
Ivvavik National Park II 2382752 Yukon, Canada
Jasper National Park II 2776809 Alberta, Canada
Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct National Park II 4970 Nova Scotia, Canada
Kluane National Park and Reserve National Park Reserve II 5463436 Yukon, Canada
Kootenay National Park II 341762 British Columbia, Canada
Kouchibouguac National Park II 59161 New Brunswick, Canada
La Mauricie National Park II 131706 Quebec, Canada
Lake Mead National Recreation Area V 670229 Arizona, Nevada, United States
Lake Superior Provincial Park IV 351011 Ontario, Canada
Lanphere-Christensen Dunes Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 471 California, United States  
Little St. Simons Island   Georgia, United States
Long Point Biosphere Reserve 100325 Ontario, Canada  
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve II 20461 Quebec, Canada
Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve 5901 California, United States  
Moray Firth 373987 Scotland, United Kingdom  
Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve 293047 British Columbia, Canada  
Nahanni National Park Reserve II 1309627 Northwest Territories, Canada
Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve 470167 Ontario, Canada  
Nipomo Dunes Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve Ia 3725 California, United States
Noatak Biosphere Reserve 7500143 Alaska, United States  
North Bull Island Nature Reserve IV 3544 Ireland  
North Norfolk Coast 7926 England, United Kingdom  
Olympic Biosphere Reserve II 922805 Washington, United States
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve II 137900 British Columbia, Canada
Padre Island National Seashore II 42068 Texas, United States
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore II 67888 Michigan, United States
Point Pelee National Park II 5764 Ontario, Canada
Point Reyes National Seashore II 27068 California, United States
Polar Bear Provincial Park 5502026 Ontario, Canada
Pukaskwa National Park II 459860 Ontario, Canada
Redwood National Park II 77867 California, United States
Reserva de la Biosfera El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve VI 6176727 Mexico  
Rondeau Provincial Park II 5035 Ontario, Canada
Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park National Marine Conservation Area II 310822 Canada
Saint Lawrence Islands National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Santa Cruz Island Preserve Nature Conservancy - Preserve 46021 California, United States
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area V 38440 California, United States
Sequoia and Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve II 172261 California, United States
Sevilleta LTER Site Long Term Ecological Research IV 228335 New Mexico, United States
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore II 62563 Michigan, United States
South Atlantic Coastal Plain Biosphere Reserve 20317 South Carolina, United States  
Tawas Point State Park 183 Michigan, United States
Terra Nova National Park IV 125894 Newfoundland, Canada
Tuktut Nogait National Park II 5761538 Northwest Territories, Canada
Virginia Coast Biosphere Reserve 33386 Virginia, United States  
Voyageurs National Park II 177960 Minnesota, United States
Vuntut National Park II 1076795 Yukon, Canada
Wapusk National Park II 2614324 Manitoba, Canada
Waterton Biosphere Reserve II 121459 Alberta, Canada
Wood Buffalo National Park II 11038545 Alberta, Canada
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Ib 2476446 Alaska, United States
Yellowstone Biosphere Reserve II 2196863 Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, United States
Yoho National Park II 317576 British Columbia, Canada


Important Bird Areas

BirdLife Species Factsheet: View Factsheet
Name Location  IBA Criteria   Website   Climate   Land Use 
Barkley Sound Canada A1, A4i, A4iii
Big Bay south to Delusion Bay Canada A4iii
Kitkatla Channel, Goschen Island North to Porcher Island Canada A4i, A4iii
Old Crow Flats Canada A4i, A4iii
Point Lepreau/Maces Bay Canada A4i, A4iii

Biodiversity Hotspots

Name Location Endemic Species Website
California Floristic Province Mexico, United States No

Prey / Diet

Balanus glandula (Acorn barnacle)[9]
Clinocardium nuttallii (Nuttall cockle)[9]
Clupea pallasii (Pacific herring)[9]
Emerita analoga (Pacific sand crab)[9]
Euspira heros (northern moonsnail)[9]
Leukoma staminea (Pacific littleneck)[9]
Mya arenaria (Clam)[10]
Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mediterranean mussel)[11]
Mytilus trossulus (foolish mussel)[12]
Nuttallia obscurata (purple mahogany-clam)[12]
Pentidotea resecata[9]
Pentidotea wosnesenskii[9]
Zostera marina (Eel Grass)[9]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Bucephala albeola (Bufflehead)1
Calidris alpina (Dunlin)1
Calidris mauri (Western Sandpiper)1
Carcinus maenas (green crab)1
Charadrius semipalmatus (Semipalmated Plover)1
Chroicocephalus ridibundus (Common Black-headed Gull)1
Larus canus (Mew Gull)1
Larus glaucescens (Glaucous-winged Gull)1
Larus occidentalis (Western Gull)1
Limnodromus scolopaceus (Long-billed Dowitcher)1
Lipophrys pholis (Shanny)1
Melanitta fusca (White-winged Scoter)2
Melanitta nigra (Black Scoter)1
Pluvialis squatarola (Grey Plover)1
Somateria mollissima (Common Eider)1
Tringa semipalmata (Willet)1


Bubo scandiacus (Snowy Owl)[9]
Enhydra lutris (Sea Otter)[9]
Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)[9]
Orcinus orca (Killer Whale)[9]


Parasitized by 
Amidostomum acutum[13]
Capillaria anatis <Unverified Name>[13]
Capillaria nyrocinarum <Unverified Name>[13]
Catatropis johnstoni[9]
Echinuria borealis <Unverified Name>[13]
Echinuria hypognatha <Unverified Name>[13]
Fimbriaria fasciolaris[13]
Himasthla rhigedana[9]
Paracuaria adunca <Unverified Name>[13]
Parorchis acanthus[9]
Profilicollis altmani[13]
Profilicollis botulus[13]
Streptocara californica <Unverified Name>[13]
Streptocara crassicauda <Unverified Name>[13]
Streptocara formosensis <Unverified Name>[13]
Tetrameres fissispina <Unverified Name>[13]
Tetrameres somateriae <Unverified Name>[13]
Tetrameres spinosa <Unverified Name>[13]

Range Map

Middle America; North America; Oceania; Prince Edward Island National Park;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Savard, J.-PL, Bordage, D. & Reed, A. (1998) Surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata). In: The Birds of North America, eds. A. Poole & F. Gill, No. 363. Philadelphia, PA, USA: The Birds of North America, Inc.
2Partners in Flight Avian Conservation Assessment Database, version 2017. Accessed on January 2018.
3Terje Lislevand, Jordi Figuerola, and Tamás Székely. 2007. Avian body sizes in relation to fecundity, mating system, display behavior, and resource sharing. Ecology 88:1605
4Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
5de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
6Jetz W, Sekercioglu CH, Böhning-Gaese K (2008) The Worldwide Variation in Avian Clutch Size across Species and Space PLoS Biol 6(12): e303. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060303
7Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
8del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
9Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
10Food Web Relationships of Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca : a Synthesis of the Available Knowledge, Charles A. Simenstad, Bruce S. Miller, Carl F. Nyblade, Kathleen Thornburgh, and Lewis J. Bledsoe, EPA-600 7-29-259 September 1979
11Lafferty, K. D., R. F. Hechinger, J. C. Shaw, K. L. Whitney and A. M. Kuris (in press) Food webs and parasites in a salt marsh ecosystem. In Disease ecology: community structure and pathogen dynamics (eds S. Collinge and C. Ray). Oxford University Press, Oxford.
12Prey selection and its relationship to habitat and foraging strategy of molting White-winged (Melanitta fusca) and Surf Scoters (M. perspicillata) in Puget Sound, WA, and the Strait of Georgia, BC., Heather J. Tschaekofske, Masters Thesis, Evergreen State College, 2010
13Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
GBIF Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Tawas Point State Park
Biodiversity Hotspots provided by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access