One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A northern diving duck that winters off the coast, the male of which has mainly black plumage.
Genus Melanitta, family Anatidae: three species
- ‘In Washington from mid-October to early May, long-tailed ducks are usually found in deep salt water, sometimes intermingled with scoters.’
- ‘Below we report the geographic distribution of long-tailed ducks, eiders, scoters, glaucous gulls, and Pacific loons with respect to month and ice cover.’
- ‘The Red-Breasted Merganser is also a bold world traveler, plying icy waters where usually only scoters and eiders dare to tread.’
- ‘Fall and winter bring storms, yes, but also lines of scoters and an occasional spouting whale.’
- ‘Sea ducks like scoters and eiders are also divers.’
Late 17th century: perhaps an error for sooter (with reference to its black plumage).
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