Scoter

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For U.S. Navy ships named Scoter, see USS Scoter.
Scoters
Wwscoter12.JPG
Adult male white-winged scoter (Melanitta deglandi)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Merginae
Genus: Melanitta
F. Boie, 1822
Species

(common scoter)

(black or American scoter)

(velvet scoter)

(white-winged scoter)

(surf scoter)

Synonyms

Oidemia

The scoters are stocky seaducks in the genus Melanitta. The drakes are mostly black and have swollen bills. Females are brown.

They breed in the far north of Europe, Asia and North America, and winter farther south in temperate zones of those continents. They form large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.

Their lined nests are built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. These species dive for crustaceans and molluscs.

There are five species, grouped into two subgenera:

The presumed fossil "scoter" Melanitta ceruttii which lived in California during the Late Pliocene is now placed in the genus Histrionicus.