Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Siberian Scoter (Melanitta stejnegeri)


French: Macreuse de Sibérie German: Kamtschatkasamtente Spanish: Negrón siberiano
Other common names: Stejneger's Scoter, Asiatic Scoter

Oidemia stejnegeri


, 1887,

Kamchatka to Japan


Usually treated as a subspecies of M. fusca (with race deglandi) or as subspecies of M. deglandi if latter separated from M. fusca, but here treated as a species in its own right (following recent study#R). Male differs from male fusca in its smoother-slanting forehead and steeper (vertically angled) and higher-reaching, sometimes hooked-over bill protuberance (morphometric character gauged at 3); yellow-sided red-centred vs all-yellow upper mandible, former with no black cutting edge (3); feathering around bill protuberance extending forward and down, then cutting away sharply, leaving panel of feathers at base of upper mandible vs cutting back and away, creating no side-panel of feathering (3); greatly increased black on base of upper mandible (so yellow does not extend back so far) (2); longer-tailed subocular eye-patch (ns[1]). Male differs from male deglandi in the same first character (although higher reach of bill protuberance in deglandi reduces score: effect size 3.56, score 2); yellow-sided red-centred vs red-sided yellow-centred upper mandible, former with no black cutting edge (3); flanks all black vs dark brown (2). Monotypic.


Breeds in Siberia from Yenisey Basin E to Kamchatka, S to Mongolia; locally in NE Kazakhstan. Winters along coasts of Kamchatka and Commander Is S to Japan, Korea and China.

Descriptive notes

51–58 cm; male 1020–1437 g, female 957 g; wingspan 86–99 cm. Large Melanitta. Recognizable in flight by conspicuous white secondaries and greater coverts that form... read more


Usually silent, like M. fusca and M. deglandi, but mentioned are a whistled “fee-... read more


Breeds around small freshwater bodies of boreal forest and Arctic tundra, sometimes well inland,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly molluscs; also crustaceans, worms, echinoderms, annelids, small fish and, in fresh water, insects and their larvae. Little plant... read more


Poorly known compared to M. fusca and M. deglandi. Generally starts May/Jun.  Seasonally monogamous; pairs may... read more


Migratory; winters on coasts of NE Asia S to Japan and E China; also inland. Prior to leaving... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population probably declining and has been estimated 400,000–700,000 individuals, of which potentially c. 1% winter off NE North... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Siberian Scoter (Melanitta stejnegeri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).