• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


Surf Scoter

(Melanitta perspicillata)
Surf Scoter
A Surf Scoter swims off of Baker Beach.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: The Surf Scoter feeds primarily on mollusks, but it also eats fish and crustaceans, which are caught by diving. It can be found resting on open waters in flocks. It nests in areas of brush or trees near slow moving water from June to September.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species can be found in bays and the ocean.

Frequency: This animal is commonly seen in fall and spring and is abundant during the winter.

Identifying Characteristics: The males of this species are black with white on the head or nape. The females are a dusky brown with light spots on the sides of its head.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

Albert Sidney Johnston

Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Pacific branch of the army, prepared the defenses of the San Francisco Bay and ordered the first garrison of Fort Point. Kentucky-born Johnston then resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army; he was killed at the battle of Shiloh in 1862.