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Sea Duck: Scoter

Black Scoter

Scoters are the chubby sea ducks, which belong to genus Melanitta, family Anatidae. The male scoter is black in color with swollen bills, while female bird is brown in color.

Scoters are primarily found in North America and in the far north of Asia and Europe. During winters they move towards further south of those continents. Scoters live in large flocks on the coasts. They build their nests in line on the ground near to sea, rivers or lakes, in woodland or tundra. These birds live together and are tend to take off together.

Scoter lives on eating mollusks and crustaceans. There are five species of scoters, which are again categorized into two subgenera:

  • subgenus Oidemia
    • Black Scoters
    • Common Scoters
    Surf Scoter
  • subgenus Melanitta
    • Surf Scoters
    • Velvet Scoters
    • White-Winged Scoters

The fossil species of scoter, Melanitta ceruttii which was found in California during the Late Pliocene is now put in the Histrionicus genus.