Common Scoter - Melanitta nigra

    Description

    An all dark sea duck, the male is totally black and the female lighter, with a pale face.

    Similar Species

    Lacks the white wing patch (on the secondaries) of Velvet Scoter

    Identification difficulty
    Habitat

    In the breeding season it favours small lochs in north and west Scotland, especially the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. In winter it is found off the UK coast with concentrations in Carmarthen and Cardigan Bays, along the Moray Firth, and along the north Norfolk coast.

    When to see it

    Can be seen offshore all year round but large numbers arrive from October, leaving from March. Most likely to be found on breeding grounds in June and July.

    Life History

    They feed on molluscs.

    UK Status

    The UK breeding population of this small diving sea duck has substantially declined and it is now a Red List species. Its winter populations are vulnerable to oil spills.

    VC55 Status

    Rare in Leicestershire & Rutland.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map