London - The British Royal Family famously never travel on the same plane to ensure the survival of the monarchy in the event of a disaster.
Now scientists say Britain’s most endangered duck employs a similar tactic by splitting up when it comes to their migration.
Despite its name, the common scoter is down to just 40 breeding pairs in the UK – mostly in the Scottish Highlands.
Researchers who tagged four birds nesting in the same loch found they flew to different winter locations in Scotland, Ireland and Morocco.
A spokesperson for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust said: “The fact they stay apart in winter is a bit like the Royal Family never flying together – it means they can’t all be affected by a single issue like a storm or oil spill.”
The discovery is useful in the trust’s attempts to discover what is behind the falling population in Britain as the scoter is thriving elsewhere. “Whatever is causing their decline is more likely to be in the summer when they’re all together in the Highlands,” said the spokesperson.