English and Scientific names:

White-winged Scoter

Number of individuals: 

1 adult male

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Holly Beach, ca 4 mi W of town of Holly Beach

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

About 10:30 a.m.

Reporting observer and address:

Paul Conover

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):

Mac Myers

Other observers who independently identified the bird(s)

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Morning sunlight at a good angle from east, as we looked to the SW.†††

Optical equipment: 

Nikon Fieldscope III ED, cellphone camera

Distance to bird(s): 

Ca 100 yards

Duration of observation:

Ca. 15 minutes



Behavior of bird: 

Mixed in with a small flock of scaup and 1 Surf Scoter as part of longer broken string of scaup flocks spread along Holly Beach.Flocks were just beyond rock breakwaters parallel to beach in this area.Bird was initially seen sleeping, and white eyespot seemed to indicate this species.After a few minutes of observation it lifted its head, preened and flapped, and then drifted along with the flock.Mac noted that the scoters drifted to the W more quickly than the other ducks in the flockónoticeably so.They must have been swimming instead of drifting, even when their heads were down.


Blackish duck with orange tip to bill and large white wing patches.Bird was much larger than scaup in flock, and larger than Surf Scoter it was often next to.


Neck and head dark blackish, with white eyespot; I donít know if this was the eye color or feathering.Black feathering of nostrils extending about 1/3 of the way onto bill; bill otherwise orange.I couldnít detect other colors in the bill as the bird was active and the seas had a bit of wave.I was also concerned with getting pictures when the birdís head was raised.


Body color a worn dark brown or brownish-black.Initially, the white of the wings was hidden on the sleeping bird, but apparently the bird shifted its body and the wing patch was revealed.When the bird flapped, it revealed white secondaries forming a large rectangular white patch there.The tail seemed worn, and appeared to be very pale as well.


In one photo, the bird is seen rising up, opening its bill to reveal a pale mouth lining, and flapping.The white wing patches are also visible in this shot.




Similar species:

No other duck is this size and color with white secondary patches.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?


Previous experience with this species: 

A bit in all seasons here and elsewhere. I donít recall if Iíve seen this plumage in LA before.††††††††

Identification aids:

This description is written from: 

Recent memory.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 



Date and time: