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Conservation status: Amber

The velvet scoter is a black seaduck. It has a long bill, a thick neck and a pointed tail. In flight, it shows a white patch on the rear of the wing - this can also be seen when birds sitting on the sea flap their wings. This species does not breed in the UK, but is a winter visitor to the east coast, especially in Scotland, Norfolk and north-east England. The large flocks in winter are vulnerable to oil pollution and depleted fish stocks.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Melanitta fusca

Family

Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

The best place to look is from seawatching points on the east coast, particularly from Norfolk northwards. Birds may be seen in small groups, often loosely associated with flocks of common scoters.

When to see them

Winter

What they eat

Shellfish, crabs, sea urchins, fish, insect larvae and plants.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
--2,500 birds-

Distribution

Key

Similar birds