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Greater Scaup


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
15.4–22 in
39–56 cm
28.3–31.1 in
72–79 cm
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.
  • The oldest recorded Greater Scaup was a male, and at least 20 years, 5 months old when he was found in Michigan in 2007. He had been banded in New York in 1998.



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



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


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



Surface Dive

Dives under water to capture food.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Greater Scaup numbers appear to have declined since the 1950's according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. However, population trends are difficult to estimate, in part because of similarities to abundant Lesser Scaup, making accurate winter counts difficult to obtain. The 2014 State of the Birds lists Greater Scaup as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.


Range Map Help

Greater Scaup Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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