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The Black Scoter

The black scoter, also called the American scoter, is a medium-sized sea duck. The male is all black except for a yellow knob on its upper bill and the silver-gray under-surface of the flight feathers. At quick glance, it resembles the common coot and is sometimes called a “sea coot.”

The female is uniformly gray-brown except for light patches on the cheeks and down the throat.

Black scoters nest in the Arctic regions of Canada and western Alaska and winter along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. In winter, they are most numerous on the Atlantic coast, particularly in South Carolina and Georgia. They feed primarily on shellfish such as blue mussels, razor clams, oysters, and quahog clams. They also eat a small amount of plant material such as eelgrass, muskgrass, algae, and pondweed.

The 2002 federal duck stamp will be the first stamp to picture a black scoter, no state stamp has ever featured this duck.

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