Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)



  • BC: Blue – S3B, S4N (2015)
  • COSEWIC: Not Ranked
  • SARA: Not Ranked
  • Global: Secure (2016)


A large, black, marine diving duck with distinctive head colouration; special salt glands excrete excess salt from the bird’s blood through the nostrils. Feeds on invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic insects, as well as some plant food.


Nearshore waters along the coastline.  Breeds in the northern interior on freshwater lakes.


Native to North America.  Overwinters on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts; breeds in far northern Canada.


There are only a handful of breeding sites in BC, all located in the far north, leaving this species susceptible to human disturbance, stochastic events, and oil spills.

Galiano Status

This species is frequently sighted in the waters around Galiano Island.

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