Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)


Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)


French: Macreuse brune German: Samtente Spanish: Negrón especulado
Other common names: White-winged Scoter (when lumped with the two following species)

Anas fusca


, 1758,

“Oceano Europaeo”


Taxa deglandi and stejnegeri, previously included in present species, have sometimes been separated as a single species (M. deglandi), but are here separated as two species (see below)#R. Monotypic.


Breeds in Scandinavia and Estonia E to R Yenisey, C Siberia S to Kazakhstan; isolated populations in Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. Winters along the coasts of Western Europe S to N Mediterranean; also Black and Caspian Seas.

Descriptive notes

51–58 cm; male 1173–2104 g, female 1140–1895 g; wingspan 86–99 cm. Large Melanitta. Recognizable in flight by conspicuous white secondaries... read more


Considered to be generally rather silent, but male gives “vak-vak” in courtship, while female has “... 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


Generally starts May/Jun.  Seasonally monogamous; pairs may defend small territory around nest-site. In single pairs or loose groups (... read more


Migratory; winters on coasts of Europe S to Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas; also inland, e.g... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Numbers best known from counts in wintering areas: similar downwards trend in numbers as suspected for other Melanitta species, at least in parts of... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca). 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).