Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra)

Latin Etymology: Melanitta ("black duck") nigra ("black")
Adult female Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra) at Southwark Park, London - March 2016

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 960-1300g  /  Length: 44-54cm  /  Wingspan: 70-84cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Despite the name, common scoters aren't very common and are red list according to the RSPB. They are a rare breeder with only 50 pairs apparently breeding in the UK, although 100000 can winter here. They are a sea duck and as such the best place to see them is naturally the coast, although I was lucky enough to see them coming up the Thames. During my first encounter with this species they remained distant and constantly in motion making photographing them very difficult, however, it was possible to view the Southwark Park individual at very close range and it remained unconcerned with human presence.

Related Species:
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Melanitta
Subspecies: none - monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Very rare resident breeder (52 pairs), locan but numerous Wintering species (100,000 birds)
 - A flock seen along the Thames from Rainham Marshes in 2010, a single female in Southwark Park in 2016

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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