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There are three kinds of Scoters seen on LI.  Scoters are often seen flying in thin line formations low over water.
White Winged Scoter
- Heavy black duck
- White wing patch seen in flight, often concealed when swimming
- Male has white "teardrop" below eye
- Bill orange with black knob at base
- Female sooty with two white patches on each side of face.
Black Scoter
- Entirely black plumage
- Bright orange/yellow knob on bill (nicknamed "butternose")
- In flight underwing shows two-toned effect
- Female sooty in color, light cheeks contrast with dark head
Surf Scoter
- All black plumage, except for two white spots on head (nicknamed "Skunkhead")
- Bill patterned with orange, black & white
- Female light brown with two pale white patches on face
Long Tailed Duck

- Formerly called "Oldsquaw"
- Only Sea Duck to combine a lot of white on the body with unpatterned dark wings.  Striking black & white plumage.
- Male is actually less striking in color when in breeding color;  dark head, dark chest & back, white sides with white cheek patch.  In non-breeding color almost all white with black cheek patch.
- Needle-like, long tail gives duck it's name.
- Pinkish bill color
- Female lacks pink bill and has less white in winter colors.
There are two types of Eiders seen on LI.
Common Eider
- Large Sea Duck, bulky & thick-necked
- Only duck in our area with black belly and white back
- Head white with black crown, greenish nape
- Long flat head profile, yellow bill color extending to base of eye
- Female rich brown or gray/brown, closely barred with same head profile
King Eider
- Stocky, smaller than Common Eider
- On water foreparts appear white, rear parts appear black
- Large white wing patch
- Orange bill and large orange bill shield, appearing to be knob-like on forehead.
- Thin white line running thru eye and down side of head
- Female golden brown in color, gray bill, no bill shield.

Harlequin Duck
- Strikingly patterned, bold colors
- Male slaty gray in color with chestnut sides, white facial crescent, patches & spots
- White ring around neck and white wing stripe
- In flight appears uniformly dark
- Female dusky brown with three round white spots on each side of head, no wing patch.
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Black Scoter
photo copyright Harold Lindstrom
White-winged Scoter
photo copyright Chuck Gordon
Surf  Scoter
photo copyright Bates Littlehales
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Harlequin Duck
photo copyright Tom Vezo
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King Eider
photo copyright Betty Randall
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Long-tailed Duck
Photo by James Galletto
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Common Eider
Photo by James Galletto
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Photo by Bob Levine
Sea Ducks:  Basic Characteristics
- Sits low in water, with tail in water
- Dives to 200' or more
- Opens wings under water
- Feet at back of body, has difficulty walking on land
- Hind toe has paddle-like flap
- Run "on water" to take flight
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