common scoter

common scoter defined in 1930 year

common scoter - Common Scoter;
common scoter - Black, the upper parts glossy; central ridge of the upper mandible orange. Length, twenty inches. Female: blackish brown above, dark brown below.

The common, or black scoter, is a large, handsome bird., whose handsomeness is due to its uniform blackness, reminding one of those two familiar beauties and favourites, the blackbird and the domestic black cat; and as with these two - one with splendid yellow eyes, the other with a golden dagger for a beak - so is the scoter's blackness relieved, and its handsomeness brought out, by a touch of bright orange on the upper mandible. It is the most marine of the diving ducks, and a deep-sea feeder like the long- tailed duck. Its breeding-grounds are in northern Europe, West Siberia, and Iceland, but a few pairs breed annually in the north of Scotland. The nest is a hollow in the ground near the sea, lined with dead leaves and grass, and with down from the sitting- bird. The eggs are eight or nine in number, and of a pale greyish buff. In winter the black scoter visits our coasts in thousands, and is the most common sea-duck. It does not appear to breed until its second year, as large numbers in immature plumage remain on our coasts throughout the summer. The scoter has a harsh cry like that of the tufted duck, and in spring the drake has a love-call, said to be not unmusical.

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