Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
(aka White-winged Scoter)
Male Velvet Scoter, Musselburgh, Lothian, Scotland, November 2002 - click for larger image Musselburgh, Lothian, Scotland
November 2002

The Velvet Scoter breeds in the taiga and tundra of northern Europe, Asia and North America. It likes to be close to both trees and water. In winter it migrates south to the shores of north-west Europe, the Black Sea, China and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America.

Male and Female Velvet Scoter, Musselburgh, Lothian, Scotland, November 2002 - click for larger image The male is entirely black except for white secondaries which are rarely visible at rest but very distinctive in flight. There is also a white mark under the eye and a pale orange-yellow band on the bill.

The female has a dark bill and pale whitish patches in front of and behind the eye.

They feed mainly on shellfish which are obtained by diving from the surface.

There is a photo of this species in flight on my North American page.

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