Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Melanitta / Species
< > Melanitta fusca - White-winged scoter (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Velvet scoter
White-winged sea coot
Hook-nosed scoter
American white-winged scoter - Melanitta fusca deglandi
Degland’s white-winged scoter - Melanitta fusca deglandi
Samtente (German)
Macreuse brune (French)
Macreuse ŗ ailes blanches (French)
Negrůn especulado (Spanish)
Anade marino de alas blancas (Spanish)
Grote ZeeŽend (Dutch)
Svšrta (Swedish)
Melanitta deglandi - American white-winged scoter
Melanitta fusca fusca - European white-winged scoter
Melanitta fusca stejnegeri - Asiatic white-winged scoter
Melanitta fusca deglandi - Pacific white-winged scoter, Degland's white-winged scoter, American white-winged scoter
Oedemia fusca

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B27.

Other references:
B138

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B30, B31B40, B94, B129
D1, D8).

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Seaducks are generally winter-hardy and sociable. They are preferably kept on a large area of clean, cold, deep water, at least some of which (preferably half the area) should be more than 60cm and preferably more than1m deep. As with other diving ducks, most species are relatively ungainly on land and ponds should have shallow sloping banks. Some cover along the pond edges will generally be appreciated. Preferred nesting sites vary greatly within this group, from open ground nesting to thick vegetation and tree holes.
  • Diets of grain, pellets fish and seafood may be used, also bread. These ducks generally need a higher-protein diet than most waterfowl species and high-protein pelleted diets specifically designed for seaducks are now available, although supplementation with fish may still be important particularly for breeding.
  • Feeding in troughs containing stones may avoid the development of overgrown bills. Provision of salt water may decrease the incidence of fungal and other infections.
  • Ducklings may be given high-protein starter crumbs and live food, and provided with access to deep water for swimming from an early age.
  • Scoters are not commonly kept in captivity. Cold, pure water and a high quality diet are thought to be important in their maintenance. In captive conditions they are prone to respiratory infections and particularly to fungal infections. They appear to do well fed on dry commercial diets once acclimatised (in the case of adult-caught birds, for example birds rescued after oiling). They can be aggressive.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B129, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • White-winged scoters require large water areas with deep (more than one metre), cold clear water. Foot lesions are common if these ducks are maintained on dry land too long. Feed high-protein diet plus grain, fish or meat and shrimp or freshwater molluscs if possible. These ducks are rarely kept and have very rarely been bred in captivity.
  • Hybridisation reported with Bucephala clangula - Common goldeneye and Melanitta perspicillata - Surf scoter (B31); wild hybrid reported with Bucephala clangula - Common goldeneye (B30).

(B8, B30, B31, B97, B129, D1)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: L 11.0mm (D8).

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 19-24 inches, 48-61cm (B3); 51-58cm (B1).
Adult weight General 1200-1794g (B1).
Male Average 1500-1700g (B3); Melanitta fusca fusca mean 3.8 lbs., Melanitta fusca deglandi mean 3.4 lbs. (B8).
Female 1200-1600g (B3); Melanitta fusca fusca mean 3.6 lbs., Melanitta fusca deglandi mean 2.7 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black with knob at base, yellow-orange sides from nostrils to tip, nail sometimes black (B25, B27).
Variations (If present) Female: Grey-black (B25).
Melanitta fusca stejnegeri male: larger basal knob, more of bill black and sides more orange than yellow (B25).
Eyes (Iris) Male White (B25)
Variations(If present) Female: brown (B25).
Juvenile Bill Grey (B25)
Eyes (Iris) Brown (B25)

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Legs

Adult Male Red-orange, dusky webs (B25).
Variations (If present) Dull orange (B25).
Juvenile Grey-yellow (B25).

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Plumage

Adult Male Black. White crescent-shaped patch under eye. Secondaries white (B2, B3, B25, B27).
Variations (If present) Female:- Dark brown; buff-white patch near bill and whiter patch on ear-coverts. Centre of underparts paler barring (B3, B25, B27).

Melanitta fusca deglandi flanks browner (B25).

Juvenile Similar to female but duller grey-brown, upperparts feathers white-tipped, underparts whiter. White patches on sides of head more distinct than in female (B3, B25, B27).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts and breast dark brown, underparts and sides of face white (B6, B27).
Bill: Dark grey (B6).
Feet: Dark grey (B6).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins late May to June (B1, B25, B27).
No. of Clutches One, but will relay if clutch lost (B2).

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Nest placement and structure

On ground, usually close to water, sometimes more distant, in cover of bushes or under tree, a depression with rim of twigs, grass, leaves and lining of down (B1, B2, B3, B6, B8, B25, B27).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-9 (B1, B2, B8).
Range 5-17 (B8); 5-12 (B1, B2).
Egg Description Cream, pinkish or pale buff (B3, B8); size: 72x48mm, weight: 92g (B3).

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Incubation

25-31 days (B8); 27-28 days (B1, B2).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

50-67 days (B8); 50-55 days (B1, B2).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Two to three years old (B1).
Females Two to three years old (B1).

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Feed by diving, especially on sandy bottoms in shallow water; occasionally dabbles (B1, B2, B3, B6, B27).
Newly-hatched Take insects from on and above surface (B2, B8).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female (B2).
Incubation By female; male deserts during incubation (B2, B3).
Newly-hatched Tended by female, brooded when small. Broods sometimes merge (B2, B3).
Juveniles

Independent by 30-40 days (B2, B3).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Highly sociable, found in large flocks except when breeding. Diving sometimes synchronised (B2, B25)
Inter-specific Sometimes nest associated with gulls or terns (B3, B8)

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Sexual Behaviour

Monogamous seasonal pair bonds, pairs form late winter and spring, males leave during incubation (B2, B3, B25).

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

Clumsy on land. Roost on water in flocks, but roost on land in breeding area (B2).
Circadian Daytime feeder (B2).

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Natural Diet

Adults

Molluscs, crustaceans, fish; aquatic insects and larvae important in summer. In summer also aquatic plants (B1, B2, B3, B6, B27)

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Newly-hatched

Insects, molluscs (B2, B8).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Melanitta fusca fusca Scandinavia eastward to central Siberia (Yenisey River) . Winters Atlantic Ocean, Norway to Spain, and Black, Caspian, Mediterranean Seas, also large lakes central Europe. Regular off east and south east coasts British Isles, and north-west England, rarer in south and west (B1, B19, B27).

Melanitta fusca stejnegeri Siberia from Yenisey basin eastward to Kamchatka and south to Mongolia. Winters coastal eastern Asia, south to Japan and China. (B1, B19).

Melanitta fusca deglandi North America, from north-western Alaska across Canada to Hudson Bay and south to southern Manitoba. Winters on Atlantic and Pacific coastlines to Baja California, South Carolina, Florida and Gulf coast, also Great Lakes (B1, B19)

Moult migration in males (B3, B25).

Occasional and Accidental

Accidental to Spitsbergen, Bear Island, Iceland, Faeroes, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Azores (B2).

May occasionally breed in Scotland (B2, B27).

Introduced

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Habitat

Breeding: freshwater pools and lakes in taiga, Arctic tundra and Boreal forest. Migration: freshwater lakes, estuaries. Winter: inshore coastal waters, sometimes on inshore lakes (B1, B2, B6, B8, B19, B25, B27).

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Melanitta deglandi - American white-winged scoter
Melanitta fusca fusca - European white-winged scoter
Melanitta fusca stejnegeri - Asiatic white-winged scoter

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Not globally threatened, but declining in eastern Siberia (B1, B8)

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats Oil, fishing (B1).

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Captive Populations

Very scarce in collections (B8).

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Trade

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