Species limits within the genus Melanitta, the scoters

Jon Martin Collinson, David T. Parkin, Alan Glasgow Knox, George Sangster, Andreas J. Helbig

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As part of its reassessment of the taxonomy of birds on the British List, the BOURC Taxonomic Sub-committee has assessed all six recognised taxa of scoters Melanitta against its previously published Species Guidelines (Helbig et at. 2002). We consider that, on the basis of evidence currently available, at least five species should be recognised: Common Scoter M. nigra, Black Scoter M. americana, Velvet Scoter M. fusca,White-winged Scoter M. deglandi and Surf Scoter M. perspidllata. The taxonomic status of the Asian subspecies of White-winged Scoter (stejnegeri) is uncertain, owing to insufficient information on several aspects of its morphology and behaviour. Provisionally, we suggest that it is best treated as conspecific with M. deglandi.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-201
JournalBritish Birds
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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Collinson, J. M., Parkin, D. T., Knox, A. G., Sangster, G., & Helbig, A. J. (2006). Species limits within the genus Melanitta, the scoters. British Birds, 99(4), 183-201.