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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.

Birds of North America Online
Be a Better Birder Tutorial 3

Appearance

Ducks
Ducks
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized diving duck.
  • Rounded head.
  • Bill bluish with black tip.
  • Male with black head, chest, and rear end, and gray sides (black on the ends and white in the middle).
  • Female dull brown, with white patch on face at base of bill.

Male Description

Breeding Plumage: Head, neck, upper back, and breast black; head with greenish iridescence. Back white to gray, covered with thin, black wavy lines. Rump black. Belly white. Sides white, with some fine dark streaks. Undertail black.
Nonbreeding Plumage: Similar to female, but with only a few white feathers on face instead of a large white patch. Head and neck blackish brown, lighter on cheeks and chin. 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

Greater Scaup Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Lesser Scaup extremely similar, but is slightly smaller, has bump on back of head instead of a smoothly rounded head, a smaller black nail on the bill tip, and has white stripe extending only halfway out wing. Male Lesser Scaup shows purplish or sometimes greenish sheen on head and usually duller white sides.
  • Male Ring-necked Duck has black back, white shoulder, and a pronounced bump on the back of the head. Female shows ring around her eyes and a white spot on the bill.