Black Scoter? - Amerikaanse Zee-eend?

Black Scoter ?

Amerikaanse Zee-eend ?

Melanitta americana

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk


21 January 2004, Brouwersdam Ze


21 January 2004, Brouwersdam Ze

While trying to find a reported Surf Scoter M. perspicillata  amidst a raft of (many hundreds of) wintering Common Scoters M. nigra , I came across a bird showing much more yellow on the bill than the other males present in the group. Obviously, it was impossible to tell for sure whether this really could be an American Scoter, but I shot some video anyway and selected some stills to give you an idea of the extent of yellow visible on this bird.

Common Scoters showing much more yellow-orange on their bills than normal have occasionally been reported. An example of this can be found in British Birds  82 (1989): pp. 616-618. The bird described in this note by Martin S. Garner was present on Southport Marina Lake, Merseyside, Britain, on 18th February 1979, and was observed well at close range. Its bill was almost completely yellow-orange, but it lacked the typical bulge of the upper mandible, as well as the different position of the nostrils, both characteristics typical for American Black Scoter when compared to Common Scoter. It goes without saying that the bird shown below was well out of the necessary range to judge these subtle characters accurately enough.

  A possible  Black Scoter  -  Amerikaanse Zee-eend  Melanitta americana   male;  videograbs (320x).
  Brouwersdam Ze, 21 January 2004.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2004