VU
Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2abcde

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Vulnerable A2abcde
2018 Vulnerable A2abcde+3cde+4bcde
2016 Vulnerable A2abcde+3cde+4bcde
2015 Vulnerable A2abcde+3cde+4bcde
2013 Endangered A2bcde+3cde+4bcde
2012 Endangered A2bcde+3cde+4bcde
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) 14,900,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 9,340,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 141000-268000 medium estimated 2020
Population trend Decreasing estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 0-25 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 25-29 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 6.2 - - -

Population justification: Population data supplied the to the European Commission (EC) in late 2019 by Member States under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive totalled 202,000-384,000 individuals. Based on previous estimates (e.g. BirdLife International 2015; Wetlands International 2020), >95% of the global population winters in the Baltic and adjacent NW Europe, so it is reasonable to assume that this is still the case. The population that winters in the Black and Caspian Seas appears to be rapidly disappearing (Paposhvili 2018), most recently estimated at 240-420 individuals (Wetlands International 2020). The total population of Velvet Scoter is now estimated at 210,000-400,000 individuals (BirdLife International in prep.). This is assumed to roughly equate to 141,000-268,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: An apparent rapid decline of c. 60% was estimated from wintering numbers in the Baltic Sea, which fell from c. 933,000 in 1992-1993 (Skov et al. 2011) to c. 373,000 individuals in 2007-2009. Extrapolation of the data implied that this was equivalent to a decline of c.70% over the past three generations, estimated at 18.6 years (based on a generation length of c. 6.2 years, using methods in Bird et al. [2020]). 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 seemed 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 had probably taken place. Subsequently the wintering numbers appear to have stabilised (BirdLife International in prep., M. Ellermaa in litt. 2020, N. Markones in litt. 2020, S. Nagy in litt. 2020), with recent totals estimated at 202,000-384,000 (BirdLife International in prep.) and 320,000-550,000 (Dagys & Hearn 2018). 

Evidence for rapid declines in the 1990s followed by an apparent stabilisation was also supplied by migration counts in the Baltic, including a long term decline in numbers passing Hanko Bird Observatory, Estonia, in autumn (at a rate of c. 50% over 30 years), which stopped in 1995 (M. Ellermaa in litt. 2012) and numbers have been largely stable since (M. Ellermaa in litt. 2020). Similarly, numbers passing Vyborg (eastern Gulf of Finland) decreased from an average of 130 birds/hour in 1988-1994, to 55 birds/hour in 1995-1999, and 53 birds/hour in 2000-2008, although error margins may be considerable (J. Kontiokorpi in litt. 2012, A. Lehikoinen et alin litt. 2012). Numbers recorded at Söderskär Bird Observatory have also been decreasing since the 1980s (A. Lehikoinen et alin litt. 2012).

The breeding population in the EU is estimated to have declined by approximately 30% over the past three generations (BirdLife International in prep.), and the population in the Caucasus appears close to extinction (Paposhvili 2018). The European Russian breeding population is thought to have declined by 50-80% since 1980 (Krivenko & Vinogradov 2008), which is consistent with the c. 60% decline recorded by Skov et al. (2011), although the recent Russian breeding trend is unknown (Voltzit & Kalyakin 2019).

It is therefore estimated that a very rapid decline occurred between 1992 and 2009, the majority of which likely occurred prior to 2002. Even with rough stability in the wintering population since 2009, a three generation past decline is estimated at 32-46%, but is suspected the rate will fall below 30% in following years. Future decline rates are uncertain but suspected to be moderate to moderately rapid.


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

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Norway Stjørdalsfjord
Denmark Rønne Banke
Russia (Central Asian) Kunovatski
Estonia Väinameri
Norway Dovrefjell
Norway Varangerfjord
Norway Varangerfjord (including Hornøya and Reinøya)
Norway Saltstraumen & Skjerstadfjorden
Norway Været
Norway Lista wetland system
Norway Ørlandet
Norway Altaelvmunningen
Norway Hardangervidda
Norway Balsfjord
Denmark Coast between Dokkedal and Lyngså
Denmark Sejerø Bay and Nekselø
Denmark Smålandsfarvandet
Norway Inner Porsangerfjord
Norway Gaulosen
Finland Shallowbanks of Uusikaupunki archipelago
Finland Kristiinankaupunki southern archipelago
Estonia Kasti bay
Estonia Kolga bay
Estonia Kõrgessaare-Mudaste coast
Estonia Mullutu
Estonia Nõva-Osmussaar
Estonia Pärnu bay (NEW)
Estonia Siiksaare-Oessaare bays
Estonia Vaindloo island
Estonia Vilsandi archipelago
Estonia Peipsi
Estonia Luitemaa
Estonia Kunda
Estonia Irbe strait
Netherlands Wadden Coast
Netherlands Delta Coast
Netherlands Wadden Sea
Sweden Sjaunja
Sweden Tavvavouma
Sweden Lake Tjålme – Valley of Lais
Sweden Lake Laidaure
Sweden Rödkallen – Söräspen Islands
Sweden Archipelago of Östergötland
Sweden Lomma Bight
Sweden Western part of Lake Mälaren
Sweden Bay of Skälder
Sweden Coastal area of Oskarshamn

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   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 Declines 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
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Other impacts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
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
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Neogobius melanostomus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Competition
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Neovison vison Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1 subtype) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, 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/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Melanitta fusca. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/04/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/04/2021.