The White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) is a large sea duck species that belongs to the family Anatidae. These birds commonly live in marine and coastal areas, especially in the North Hemisphere, including Alaska, Canada, and Russia.
The White-winged Scoter features a black body with white patches on the wings, visible in flight. It also presents a bulbous bill that males have, colored yellow with a black knob, and females dark gray. The bird's body size, bill shape, and plumage coloration differentiate them from other scoter species.
White-winged Scoters feed on fish, mollusks, and crustaceans, diving up to 60 feet deep and staying submerged for up to a minute. During the breeding season, they build nests in salt marshes or on the ground in relatively dry environments. Incubation lasts about a month, and once the chicks hatch, they can swim and feed almost immediately.
The species gets listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since over 100,000 individuals exist around the world. Despite its population stability, White-winged Scoters face several threats, including oil spills, ocean plastic pollution, and habitat loss and degradation. The birds are also vulnerable to hunting, though they now have protective status in several countries.
In conclusion, the White-winged Scoter is a distinctive and fascinating bird. Its large size, striking black and white pattern, and interesting feeding habits make it an intriguing species to observe and study. However, the risks to its survival must be addressed to ensure its continued presence in our marine ecosystems.