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29 March 2014

Velvet Scoter

Velvet Scoter (斑臉海番鴨)
Åland (2014)
7th February, 2014. Mariehamn

Velvet Scoter also called a Velvet Duck, is a large sea duck, which breeds over the far north of Europe and Asia west of the Yenisey basin. A small, isolated population nests in eastern Turkey. The East Siberian and North American White-winged Scoter is sometimes considered conspecific with the Velvet Scoter, and its two constituent subspecies are then known as M. f. stejnegeri and M. f. deglandi. Velvet and White-winged Scoter, along with the Surf Scoter, are placed in the subgenus Melanitta, distinct from the subgenus Oidemia, Black and Common Scoters.

It winters further south in temperate zones, Europe as far south as Great Britain, and on the Black and Caspian Sea. Small numbers reach France and northern Spain. It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.

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