SURF SCOTER Melanitta perspicillata

All scoters have distinctive "swollen" bills, this is probably the most easily identified. A relatively common bird, although scoters are hard to census as they often form huge mixed wintering flocks far from shore. Breeding in Alaska and Canada they winter on coasts as far south as Baja California and Florida, and are the most common vagrant scoter in Europe and the UK. Birds often return for several years to favoured sites, and there are usually one or two somewhere in the UK every winter. However, they are not known to hybridise.

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