White-winged Scoter

: A Fascinating Sea Duck

The White-winged Scoter is a stunning sea duck that can be found in various bodies of water throughout North America. In this post, we will dive into the details of this fascinating bird’s characteristics, habitat, diet and some cool facts.

Basic Description:
The White-winged Scoter measures about 20-25 inches long with a wingspan of 32-38 inches. Adult males are black from head to tail with distinctive white patches on their forehead and nape. Females have dark brown feathers with lighter-colored cheeks and neck, but no white patches like males. Both sexes have bright orange bills with a black base.

Where To Find This Bird:
White-winged Scoters breed in Canada’s boreal forests near freshwater lakes or rivers before migrating southward for winter along North American coasts. They can also be seen on large inland waters such as the Great Lakes.

These ducks prefer saltwater bays and estuaries during winter migration periods but require freshwater during breeding seasons. They nest near forest wetlands’ shrubby areas or shoreline vegetation where they lay roughly six eggs per clutch.

White-Winged scoters feed mostly on mollusks such as clams, mussels, crustaceans like crabs shrimps’ small fish along shallow bottoms using their strong bills to pry open shells and dig through sand and mud underwater while diving up to 60 feet deep for food!

Cool Facts:

1) Male White-winged scoters perform an elaborate courtship display by repeatedly dipping their heads below the water surface while emitting whistling sounds.
2) These birds form flocks year-round; however, larger groups are typical during winter migrations.
3) Their population has been decreasing over time due to habitat loss from development activities such as logging or energy exploration projects that change natural ecosystems.
4) Unlike most other duck species which shed their feathers all at once, White-winged scoters replace their flight and body feathers in a unique molting pattern that extends over several months.

In conclusion, the White-winged Scoter is an exquisite sea duck with unique features and characteristics. They make their home near freshwater lakes or rivers before migrating southward for winter along North American coasts. With a diet rich in mollusks and small fish, these ducks are well-equipped to survive harsh winters. While facing threats like habitat loss due to human activities, they continue to amaze us with their fascinating behavior patterns such as courtship displays and molting patterns that set them apart from other bird species.