Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi)


French: Macreuse à ailes blanches German: Höckersamtente Spanish: Negrón aliblanco
Other common names: American White-winged Scoter, Degland's Scoter

Oidemia deglandi


, 1850,

North America


Usually treated as a subspecies of M. fusca or as conspecific with M. stejnegeri if 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 bill protuberance and forehead being relatively high (morphometric character gauged as 2); red-sided yellow-centred (often with yellow barely visible) vs all-yellow upper mandible (2); 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 extends back under “lores”) (2); flanks dark brown vs all black (ns[2]); longer-tailed subocular eye-patch (ns[1]). For differences from M. stejnegeri see under that species. Birds of W Alaska occasionally separated as race dixoni. Monotypic.


Breeds in Alaska and Canada E to Hudson Bay. Winters along W coast from W Aleutian Is S to Baja California; and along E coast from Gulf of St Lawrence S to N Florida.

Descriptive notes

50–58 cm; male 1361–1769 g, female 953–1406 g (female); wingspan 86–99 cm. Large Melanitta. Recognizable in flight by conspicuous white secondaries and greater... read more


Considered to be generally rather silent, but male gives doubled whistling “whur-er” or “fee-er” in... read more


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

Food and feeding

Mainly molluscs (e.g. genera such as Corbula, Gemma, Mulinia, Macoma, Mya, Nuttallia... read more


Generally starts May/Jun; e.g. in Canada, nest initiation dates ranged from 7 Jun–6 Jul and 10 Jun–11 Jul in consecutive years. ... read more


Migratory; winters on Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America as far S as Baja California (... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population estimated at c. 1,000,000 in mid 1990s. In breeding range, decline registered in Canada (NW Territories). Howeverm with... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi). 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 24 January 2020).