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Greater Scaup

Aythya marila ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Greater Scaup is found primarily along the seacoast and on large bodies of water. Unlike its look-alike relative the Lesser Scaup, the Greater Scaup is found across Eurasia as well as North America.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
15.4–22 in
39–56 cm
Wingspan
28.3–31.1 in
72–79 cm
Weight
25.6–48 oz
726–1360 g
Other Names
  • Scaup (British English)
  • Fuligule milouinan (French)
  • Porron bastardo, Buixot (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Occasionally an older female Greater Scaup will have male-like head color and male patterning on her back, but she still has the typical white face patch of a female.
  • Once incubation begins, the male Greater Scaup leaves the female and goes to molt on some relatively large, isolated lake. These lakes are used year after year during molt, and may be in the immediate vicinity of the breeding wetlands or many miles away. They are relatively shallow and contain abundant food and suitable cover.
  • The nest of a Greater Scaup is usually lined with a thick layer of down plucked by the mother from her own breast. Nests of poor-condition females may lack down and instead may contain small, grayish-white feathers plucked from beneath the outer body feathers.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Found on lakes, ponds, and bays. Mostly marine in winter.

Food


Insects

Clams, snails, crustaceans, aquatic insects, seeds, and aquatic plants.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
5–13 eggs
Egg Description
Brownish olive-buff.
Condition at Hatching
Downy and eyes open. Leave nest as soon as they are dry. Feed themselves immediately.
Nest Description

Bowl-shaped depression in ground, usually lined with grasses and a thick layer of down. Placed in tall grass in an area not subject to flooding.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Surface Dive

Dives under water to capture food.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Because of similarities to abundant Lesser Scaup, accurate winter counts difficult to obtain. Populations may be declining.

Credits

  • Kessel, B., D. A. Rocque, and J. S. Barclay. 2002. Greater Scaup (Aythya marila). In The Birds of North America, No. 650 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

Range Map Help

Greater Scaup Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings