Black or Surf Duck Princeton Print

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Surf Scoter, Melanitta perspicillata

Print size: 26 1/4" x 39 1/4"; image size: 28" x 20 1/2"

Princeton Audubon Limited Edition - produced 1985

Audubon painted this pair of surf scoters (a male at left, a female at right) during his voyage to Labrador in 1833. He wrote: "For more than a week after we had anchored in the lovely harbor of Little Macatina, I had been anxiously searching for the nest of this species but in vain: the millions that sped along the shores had no regard for my wishes." Fortunately, he found a nest and wrote that it was hidden among tall grasses, raised about four inches above the ground, and lined with down.

The summer home of the bird is in the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska. During its sojourn in the States it winters in coastal waters, at home in the ocean surf. The male has overall black plumage set off by an orange, black, and white bill, a white eye, and a white patch on the forehead and nape. This remarkable coloration has given rise to some equally remarkable names: speckle-billed coot, blossom-billed coot, patch-head, skunk head, skunk top, goggle-nose, and snuff-taker.


Princeton Audubon prints are direct-camera facsimile lithographs of the Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878) engravings for The Birds of America (1827-38). Princeton's Double elephant Folio prints are issued in limited editions of 500 or 1500 prints. All are numbered and have a seal in the bottom margin to demonstrate their authenticity.

Printed on heavy Mohawk paper that is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives, the paper is specially toned to match the average paper color of the antique originals.
Item Number: 1733

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