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Species Guide

Stejneger's Scoter

Melanitta stejnegeri

Stejneger's scoter, or the Siberian scoter, is a robust sea duck, cloaked in a predominantly dark plumage. The genus name, Melanitta, is a nod to the Ancient Greek words for "black" (melas) and "duck" (netta), reflecting its somber hues.

Identification Tips

The male Stejneger's scoter is distinguished by a strikingly tall knob at the base of its mostly orange-yellow bill. In contrast to the white-winged scoter, the male of this species has a pronounced "Roman nose" profile, akin to that of a common eider, and the feathering at the base of the upper mandible forms an acute angle.


This species selects coastal waters to form its habitat, where it can be seen congregating in large, tightly packed flocks.


Breeding across the northern reaches of Asia, east of the Yenisey Basin, Stejneger's scoter migrates southward to temperate zones in Asia, as far as China, for the winter. While once thought rare in North America, it may be a regular visitor and potential breeder in Western Alaska.


Stejneger's scoter is a sociable bird, often seen in dense flocks that take to the air en masse.


In freshwater environments, Stejneger's scoter feeds on crustaceans and insects, while in saltwater, it shifts its diet to molluscs and crustaceans.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified Stejneger's scoter as Least Concern, indicating a stable population at present.

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