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
adult female with brownish body, cream-coloured head and brownish crown, adult males with jet-black body, black head and swollen black, orange-yellow bill, from below, remiges of both sexes appear silver-shining, especially the hand

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, M F AD
BIF1590, 07/04/2013, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze

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

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

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
BIF1593, 11/04/2013, North Sea, offshore, Mathias Putze
under poor light conditions, on greater distance, dark short-necked and compact duck, black bodies of males still strongly 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
usually appear in rather dense, sometimes messy, elongated flocks on migration

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 strong sunlight, difficult to recognise over dark blue water, but light bellies of fresh juveniles are 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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