BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana)
The Black, or American Scoter is a large diving sea duck with a knob on its bill. The male is entirely black with part of the upper bill near the face a bright yellow. The female is dark brown with light brown cheeks and tiny specks of yellow on the upper part of the bill. The black scoter is a large sea bird (around 50 cm or 20 in.) feeding on a variety of crustaceans, fish, and vegetation.
The name ‘Scoter’ would be a variation of ‘coot’, a name used by hunters of this duck. The Latin name ‘Melanitta’ means ‘black duck’.
The black scoter breeds in the Arctic and visits PEI mainly during the winter, fall and spring. It is considered as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN, due a decline in their population. Their habitat is vulnerable to oil spills and loss of food sources from oil pollution.