Greater Scaup

Aythya marila

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

GRSC

Code 6

AYTMAR

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Greater Scaup is a large diving duck which may also be called a Bluebill. Breeding habitats include grounds surrounding lakes and bogs on the tundra of the north edges of the boreal forest. It especially likes the Arctic and subarctic climates of northern North America, Europe and Asia. This species migrates southward during winter months in flocks. They spend the winter together in coastal waters. Diets for the species consist of mollusks, aquatic vegetation and possibly frogs. North American populations have been declining since the 1990s, possibly due to a snail parasite. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Greater Scaup: This large diving duck has a glossy green-black head, white sides and belly, black tail, neck and breast, barred gray flanks and back. The eyes are yellow and the bill is blue-gray with a black tip. The diet includes aquatic insects and plants. It has a rapid direct flight with strong, quick wing beats. The female is dull brown with a white patch on the face at base of bill.

 

Range and Habitat

Greater Scaup: Breeds within the Arctic Circle, both in the Palearctic and North America. Also found in Asia, and is present in the Aleutian Islands year round. Spends the summer breeding in Alaska, Canada, Siberia, and northern Europe. In winter, it migrates down the coasts of North America, Europe, and Japan. Prefers ponds, marshes and lakes.

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Greater Scaup SONGS AND CALLS

Greater Scaup A1

Quacks from female as a pair takes flight.

Greater Scaup P1

Alarm call is a hoarse "karr, karr, karr".

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"Ccaup", "week-week-week"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Greater Scaup's name may come from its display call of "scaup scaup."
  • In North America, their population has been on a steady decline since the 1990's. Biologists and conservationists are unsure of the reasons for decline. Some researchers believe a parasitic trematode found in snails may be to blame.
  • Occasionally an older female will have male-like head color and male patterning on her back, but she still has the typical white face patch of a female.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Jane Wright

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X