Melanitta Deglandi – White-Winged Scoter

Melanitta Deglandi - White-Winged Scoter found in the US

The white-winged scoter is a huge sea duck (Melanitta deglandi). The genus name is derived from the Ancient Greek melas, which means “black,” and netta, which means “duck.” The species is named after Côme Damien Degland, a French naturalist.

Quick Overview: Melanitta Deglandi – White-Winged Scoter
Body size: Around 19-24 in (48-61 cm) and a weight of 1768 g (62.4 oz)
Main colors: Black, White, Brown, Orange, Red-Orange
Range: Coastal Area of the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

White-winged Scoter Description

White-winged scoters are huge, stocky birds that reach a length of approximately 21 inches. They are one of the largest duck species. Males are completely black with the exception of a white comma-shaped area around each eye. Females are dark brown in hue and may have pale spots on their faces. Orange bill with a big black basal knob. Legs and feet in a red-orange hue.

Melanitta Deglandi - White-Winged Scoter found in the US
Melanitta Deglandi – White-Winged Scoter. Photo by: Alan Schmierer


These birds have a length of 19-24 in (48-61 cm) and a weight of 1768 g (62.4 oz). Their wings could range from 33-41 in (84-104 cm).


The white-winged scoter is a diving duck that feeds on the bottoms of lakes and oceans. Their primary food source is mollusks such as clams and mussels. Additionally, scoters consume crabs, worms, echinoderms, amphipods, isopods, and tiny fish.


White-winged scoters can be found in a range of environments during the mating season. This category includes forested coastlines, tiny freshwater lakes and rivers in northern coniferous forests, forested arctic tundra, and alpine zones.


Males remain with females during the egg-laying stage and often congregate in small groups before departing the mating grounds after the young hatch. After around 21 days, surrounding females may exhibit hostile behavior toward other nesting females, leading in brood confusion and mixing.

Melanitta Deglandi Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Melanitta
  • Species: Melanitta deglandi

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the White-winged Scoter in the USA

Breeds throughout Alaska and a large portion of northern and central Canada. Winters along the coasts, from Alaska to California and from Newfoundland to South Carolina and North Carolina.

The White-winged Scoter can be found in the following states in the United States – Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia.

Melanitta Deglandi – White-Winged Scoter

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