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Of the 18 duck species wintering in the Eastern Baltic Sea the Velvet Scoter is one of the darkest. Male birds have a characteristic white tear-drop just under the eye and a white wing patch visible only in flight.
After breeding in tundra it comes to the Baltic Sea for winter in large flocks of several thousands of individuals. Pomerania bay, West coast of the Gulf of Riga and Irbe strait are the most important overwintering sites for the Velvet Scoter in Europe.
This broad-billed duck collects molluscs and crustaceans from the sea bottom as deep as 30 metres, sometimes snatching a fish as well.
Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca)
Velvet Scoter male (Photo: Saulius Karalius, Fund of Lithuanian Sea museum)
Velvet Scoter female (Photo: Saulius Karalius, Fund of Lithuanian Sea museum)