The whole plumage black; no speculum on the wings: legs dusky gray-Anas nigra, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 856. Scoter, Mont. Orn. Diet. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 322. Black Scoter, Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 329. pl. 68.
Entire length eighteen inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) one inch eight lines, (from the gape) two inches; of the tarsus one inch nine lines; of the tail three inches four lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing eight inches nine lines: breadth, wings extended, two feet nine inches. (Female).
(Male). The whole plumage, without exception, deep velvet-black, with glossy reflections: bill, and a globular protuberance at the base, black; the latter divided longitudinally by a mesial band of orange yellow, which, passing onwards, spreads over half the bill, but does not reach the tip by half an inch: irides brown: orbits yellow: tarsi and toes dusky gray; membranes black. (Female). Crown, "occiput and nape, dusky brown; cheeks, throat and breast, dull brown, with a mixture of ash-gray: back, wings, and under parts of the body, deep brown, the feathers edged at the tips with whitish brown: bill somewhat elevated at the base, but without the globular protuberance; of a blackish colour; the nostrils, and a spot towards the tip, yellowish: orbits brown. (Young male, during the first year). " Resembles the adult female, but the colours are somewhat paler: space between the eye and the bill, crown, occiput, nape and breast, deep brown; beneath the eyes, sides and fore part of the neck, pure white; the rest of the plumage sooty-brown: bill elevated at the base; livid brown; the nostrils flesh-colour: legs dirty yellowish green; membranes dusky." Temm. (Egg). Pale buff-colour: long. diam. two inches six lines; trans, diam. one inch nine lines.
Like the last a winter visitant. Not uncommon on most parts of the British coast, but seldom observed inland. Breeds in high northern latitudes. Dives well, and feeds principally on shell-fish.
Faun. Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 449. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 335. pl. 69. Anas persp., Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 853. Wils. Amer. Orn. vol. viii. p. 49. pl. 67. f. 1.
According to Temminck, this species, which is plentiful in North America, has occurred occasionally in the Orkneys. It does not, however, appear to have been met with by any of our own naturalists, nor am I aware that any native specimens exist in our collections. It is distinguished from the 0 nigra, which it most nearly resembles, by a frontal band, and a large patch on the nape, of pure white: rest of the plumage black: no speculum.
Flem. Brit. An. p. 119. Anas leuc, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 859.
Dr Fleming is of opinion that the female Scoter described by Montagu in the Supp. to the Orn. Diet, and the White-throated Duck of Pennant (Brit. Zool. vol. ii. pl. 98). are referable to this species, to which he has accordingly given a place in the British Fauna. It is, however, very probable, that the individuals above alluded to may have been only immature specimens of the 0 nigra, which has generally more or less white on the head and neck during the first year. There is no good authority for considering the O leucocephala as British. It inhabits the eastern parts of Europe, and, according to Temminck, is never found in Holland.