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Lesser Scaup

Aythya affinis ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Two scaup species live in North America: the Greater Scaup prefers salt water and is found in America and Eurasia, while the Lesser Scaup prefers freshwater and is found only in North America. The Lesser Scaup is one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America

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Appearance

Ducks
Ducks
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized diving duck.
  • Slight bump or peak on back of head.
  • Bill bluish with small black tip.
  • Male with black head, chest, and rear end, and gray sides (black on the ends and white in the middle).

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Head, neck, upper back, and breast black; head with purplish iridescence. Back white, covered with thin, black wavy lines. Rump black. Belly white. Sides white, with some fine dark streaks. Undertail black.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Similar to female, but with only a few white feathers on face instead of a large white patch. Head and neck blackish brown. Breast dark with some white edging to feathers. Back brown with white edges to feathers. Underparts mottled brownish and white. Tail dark grayish.

Female Description

White area at base of bill. Head and neck dark brown with some light mottling. Back darkish brown with white flecks. Breast buffy brown. Belly whitish. Sides and flanks brown. Tail dark brown.

Immature Description

Similar to adult female.

Range Map Help

Lesser Scaup Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • Greater Scaup extremely similar, but is slightly larger, has a smoothly rounded head, a large black nail on the bill tip, and has a white stripe extending farther than halfway out the wing. Male Greater Scaup shows greenish sheen on head and usually brighter white sides.
  • Male Ring-necked Duck has black back, white shoulder, and a more pronounced bump on the back of the head. Female shows ring around her eyes and a white spot on the bill.