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  ScienceZoologyBirdsOrder Anseriformes
White-Winged ScoterWhite-Winged Scoter

Melanitta fusca


This large, stocky diving duck is 19 to 23 inches long, has a wingspan of about 30 inches, and weighs between 2 and 4 pounds.

Males are black except for a white comma-shaped patch around the eyes and a white patch on each wing that is only visible in flight. Females are dark brown except for whitish patches on each side of the face.

distribution of the White-Winged Scoter in North AmericaDistribution and Habitat

These scoters breed from Alaska to western Ontario, and across northern Eurasia. North American populations winter along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts from Alaska and Newfoundland southward to Mexico and Georgia. Eurasian populations winter along the Atlantic coast of Europe as far south as Spain and the Pacific coast of Asia into southern China.

During the spring and summer months these birds live on large freshwater or brackish lakes and ponds. In the fall and summer they are found on coastal estuaries, bays, and open coastline with shallow water over shellfish beds.


The nest is a hollow in the ground located in dense cover away from water. Clutches consist of 6 to 16 creamy buff or light pink eggs.


White-winged scoters feed on clams, mussels, crustaceans, and insects found at the bottom of shallow waters. They will also take some fish and aquatic plants.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Anseriformes
family Anatidae
subfamily Anatinae
genus & species Melanitta fusca

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This page was last updated on September 08, 2015.

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