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Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered  
Vulnerable  

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Endangered
2012 Endangered

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass 1757 g

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 5,120,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 254,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 250000 medium Estimated 0
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7.5 - - -
Population justification: Surveys in 2007-2009 put the wintering population in the Baltic Sea at c.373,000 individuals (Skov et al. 2011), with perhaps a few thousand wintering along coasts elsewhere in Europe, and another c.1,500 wintering in the Black Sea and Caucasus (Delany and Scott 2006). On this basis, the total number of mature individuals (probably around 2/3 of the total population) is estimated at c.250,000.
Trend justification: Since surveys in 1992-1993, an apparent decline of c.60% (3.7% annually) has been detected in the Baltic Sea, with counts in 2007-2009 putting the wintering population at c.373,000 individuals, down from c.933,000 in 1992-1993 (Skov et al. 2011). Extrapolation of the data implies that this is equivalent to a decline of c.77% over the past three generations, estimated at 23 years (based on a generation length of c.7.5 years [BirdLife International unpubl. data]). The Baltic Sea is the most important wintering area in the world for this species, holding c.93% of the global population in 1992-1993. It seems unlikely that the proportion of the total north-west European wintering population present in the Baltic has dropped from 93% to 37% (see Skov et al. 2011), thus a very rapid decline has probably taken place. This is supported by reports of declines elsewhere in its range. A very rapid decline is projected over the next three generations, as the main causes of this negative trend have not been identified with certainty and are not known to have ceased.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Vagrant Extant        
Algeria Vagrant Extant        
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Austria Native Extant   Yes    
Azerbaijan Native Extant        
Belarus Native Extant   Yes    
Belgium Native Extant   Yes    
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vagrant Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes    
Croatia Native Extant   Yes    
Czech Republic Native Extant   Yes    
Denmark Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Egypt Vagrant Extant        
Estonia Native Extant     Yes Yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant        
Finland Native Extant     Yes Yes
France Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Georgia Native Extant Yes      
Germany Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Greece Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant        
Hungary Native Extant   Yes    
Iceland Vagrant Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant   Yes    
Ireland Native Extant   Yes    
Israel Vagrant Extant        
Italy Native Extant   Yes    
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kyrgyzstan Vagrant Extant        
Latvia Native Extant   Yes    
Lebanon Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Lithuania Native Extant   Yes    
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Vagrant Extant        
Montenegro Native Extant   Yes    
Morocco Vagrant Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant   Yes    
Norway Native Extant     Yes Yes
Pakistan Vagrant Extant        
Poland Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Portugal Vagrant Extant        
Romania Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Russia (European) Native Extant     Yes Yes
Serbia Native Extant   Yes    
Slovakia Native Extant   Yes    
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes    
Spain Native Extant   Yes    
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Vagrant Extant        
Sweden Native Extant       Yes
Switzerland Native Extant   Yes    
Tajikistan Vagrant Extant        
Turkey Native Extant       Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant   Yes    
United Kingdom Native Extant   Yes    
Uzbekistan Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Denmark Rønne Banke site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Grassland Tundra suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Abstraction of surface water (agricultural use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Large dams Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Utilisation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Melanitta fusca. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size 250000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 5,120,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species