Any of three species (genus Melanitta) of diving duck that are mainly marine except during the breeding season. The males are shiny black. The surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) breeds in the forests and tundra of Canada and Alaska and winters on seacoasts as far south as Florida and southern California. The white-winged, or velvet, scoter (M. deglandi, or fusca) and the black, or common, scoter (M. nigra) occur north of the equator nearly worldwide. All three feed mainly on marine animals such as clams.