Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Find Black Scoter with the help of eBird

Black Scoters
A rare sighting of Black Scoters in Austin, Texas. Photo by Lora Render

In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of the year. We featured Black Scoter, pictured above, in our November/December 2018 issue.

Black Scoter maps
Maps from eBird show where Black Scoter have been seen in June (left) and December.

A waterbird of the northern Arctic, Black Scoter remains one of the least known sea ducks of North America, largely due to its remote and scattered breeding range in western Alaska and northern Canada. In June, Black Scoters are found in two main areas: western and northern Alaska and northern Ontario and Quebec, where they breed in small, shallow lakes and ponds relatively near the coast. By December, when the breeding lakes have frozen, the birds can be seen along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts; particularly high concentrations occur in portions of coastal Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State, and from Maine south to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Black Scoters also will turn up inland; look for them on large lakes and reservoirs with other scoters and diving ducks.

See eBird’s real-time distribution maps for Black Scoter. 


eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the November/December 2018 issue of BirdWatching.

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free