Common Species of Sea Ducks Part 2

Welcome to the finale of our sea ducks series! Don’t miss our overview of sea ducks and the first part of this closer look at all the sea duck species. Enjoy!


Goldeneye Duck on Water

Barrow’s goldeneyes can be found along the Canadian and US Pacific coastline, with some breeding grounds inland. They have a large, triangular head and a steep forehead. Males have dark black feathers on their wings and head. In the right light, these feathers look purple.

Buffleheads are very small and fly with rapid wingbeats. When in flight, they rock side ot side. Males have bright white and iridescent head feathers, which are both green and purple.

Common goldeneye can be found in Canada, the United States, and some parts of Mexico. Males have iridescent green feathers on their heads and females have brown and grey feathers.



Surf Scoter on Water
Surf Scoter

Black scoters can be identified by their distinctive whistling calls and the whistling sound their wings make while flying. Females have dark brown feathers and males are completely black except for a bright orange patch on their bills.

Common scoters live in Northern Europe, Siberia, and the North Atlantic coast of North America. They spend their winters in warmer waters on the coast of Western Europe. They form large flocks which fish and migrate together.

Surf scoters live in the far North of Canada but spend their winters along United States coastlines. Flocks of thousands of surf scoters can often be found on coastal waters. In bad weather, they tend to migrate inland to wait it out.

Velvet scoters live across Northern Europe. Males are mostly black, except for a distinctive white patch around their eyes and their yellow bills. Females have dark brown feathers with light patches on their faces. Their diet consists of mollusks and crustaceans, which they dive for.

White-winged scoters can often be seen with other species of scoters and sea ducks. They spend their winters on the ocean and summers on inland freshwater lakes. Males have a white patch of feathers around their eyes which are pointed at the ends, called a “Viking horn”.



And the others…

Harlequin duck on Water
Harlequin Duck

Harlequin ducks live around turbulent and rough waters. They breed in rivers, usually near whitewater rapids, and spend their winters on rocky coastlines. Even in choppy waters, they are able to dive for small fish and invertebrates.

Long-tailed ducks live in the Arctic and throughout Canada. Of all the diving ducks, they are able to dive the deepest and longest. They can dive up to 200 feet underwater and remain underwater for three to four times longer than the next-longest duck.

Smew is the only extant species of the genus Mergellus and has a fossil record dating back to 13 million years ago. They can be found in Northern Europe and Siberia, with winter sites in Central Europe and Asia.


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