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a genus of birds of the order Anseriformes. The body measures 48–56 cm in length and weighs 0.9–1.7 kg. The female is smaller than the male. The male has black plumage, sometimes with white patches on the wings; the bill, which has a knob at the base, is yellow with black or red markings. The female is dark brown.
There are five species, distributed in northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The USSR has four species: the velvet scoter (M. fusca), the white-winged scoter (M. deglandi), the common scoter (M. nigra), and the American scoter (M. americana). The surf scoter (M. perspicillata) has recently appeared in the northeastern USSR. Members of the genus are migratory birds that winter in coastal waters and on the sea. They nest mainly in tundra and forest-tundra, on the shores of lakes, calm rivers, and seacoasts. There are six to ten eggs per clutch. The female broods for approximately three weeks. The birds feed mainly on mollusks and the larvae of aquatic insects. In some places they are hunted commercially.