American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 19

KING EIDERS (Somatcria spectabilis) are found throughout the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, breeding in Arctic regions and wintering in America, south regularly to the Great Lakes, Long Island and the Aleutian Islands. They are handsome birds, as may be seen from the illustration, having more black in the plumage than the other Eiders and having a very large and prominent frontal process at the base of the bill. The female is slightly grayer than the other species, but can best be identified by the fact that the feathers on the sides of the bill come far short of reaching the nostrils. This seems to be even more exclusively a sea duck than the others and is rarely found inland. It is of about the same size as other Eiders, namely, 22 or 23 in. in length.


SCOTER (Oidemia americana). This is the smallest of the so-called "Sea Coots," being about 18 in. in length. Because of the slightly enlarged, bright yellow, basal portion of the bill, it is very often termed the "Butter-bill." This species and the two following breed abundantly in the northern half of Canada and Alaska, and winter in " rafts " off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States and on the Great Lakes. They are all excellent divers, feeding in deep water; their flesh is, however, very tough and quite unpalatable, although it is sometimes eaten.


SURF SCOTERS (Oidemia perspicillata), the male of which is shown in the pen sketch, are about 20 in. in length. The female is chiefly gray, but has a large spot of white on the cheeks. The bill of the male is quite swollen and colored black, white and orange.


WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Oidemia deglandi), the largest of the Scoters, is 22 in. in length. The male is shown in the pen sketch.