Common Scoter
Melanitta nigra

– medium-sized duck, roughly size of Mallard
– diurnal/nocturnal migrant
– migrates in small to large flocks in (sometimes messy) formation


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, M F AD
BIF1589, 24/03/2013, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
– AD F dark brown body and crown and, cream-coloured side of the head
– AD M jet-black rather stout body and swollen black bill with some orange-yellow


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, M F AD
BIF1590, 07/04/2013, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
– from below, remiges of both sexes appear silver-shining, especially the hand


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, 1CY
BIF1591, 03/11/2016, North Sea, offshore, Roland Neumann
– 1CY similar to females, but with dirty white belly
– due to the head pattern 1CY and AD F recall female Red-crested Pochard but lack their white wingbar


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, 1CY
BIF1592, 29/10/2015, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
– even at greater distance, dirty white belly of 1CY recognisable


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
BIF1593, 11/04/2013, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
under poor light conditions and at greater distance:
– dark, short-necked and compact duck
– black bodies of males contrasting to their silvery hands
– light facial pattern of females/juveniles visible, but further differentiation mostly not possible


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, M F AD, 2CY
BIF1594, 16/06/2013, North Sea, offshore, Roland Neumann
– on migration usually appear in rather dense, sometimes messy, elongated flocks


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Common Murre Uria aalge
Razorbill Alca torda
BIF1595, 15/11/2011, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze


Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, AD M (in front) F (4th from left), 1CY
BIF1596, 14/10/2011, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
– in bright sunlight difficult to recognise above dark blue water
– light bellies of JUV very prominent

voice: calls during migration not yet sound recorded

comparison species:
Surf Scoter (v)
Velvet Scoter (v)
White-winged Scoter (v)
Black Scoter (v)
Red-crested Pochard (v)

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