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We analyzed characteristics of wetland habitats used by breeding black scoters (Melanitta nigra) and surf scoters (M. perspicillata) in the eastern boreal forest and subarctic regions of Canada based on satellite telemetry data collected in the spring and summer. During 2002 and 2004, nine black scoters (four males, five females) were tracked to breeding areas in Quebec, Manitoba, and Northwest Territories. In addition, in 2001?04, seven surf scoters (three males, four females) were tracked to breeding areas in Labrador, Quebec, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Based on satellite telemetry data, locations of black and surf scoters in breeding areas were not significantly different in regard to latitude and longitude. Presumed breeding areas were manually plotted on topographic maps and percent cover type and water were estimated. Breeding habitat of black scoters was significantly different than that for surf scoters, with black scoters mainly using open (tundra) areas (44%) and surf scoters using mainly forest areas (66%). Surf scoters presumed breeding areas were at significantly higher elevations than areas used by black scoters. Some breeding areas were associated with islands, but the role of islands for breeding areas is equivocal. These results aid in the identification of potentially critical breeding areas and provide a baseline classification of breeding habitats used by these two species.
Additional Publication Details
Characterization of breeding habitats for black and surf scoters in the eastern boreal forest and subarctic regions of Canada