Lesser Scaup

Aythya affinis

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

LESC

Code 6

AYTAFF

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Lesser Scaup has a large range, estimated globally at 5,200,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and surrounding island nations and introduced throughout Europe and parts of Asia, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 3,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Lesser Scaup is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Lesser Scaup: Medium-sized diving duck has finely barred gray back and gray-washed white underparts. Head, neck and breast are black with purple gloss. It has yellow eyes, blue-gray bill, black tail and black wings with white patches. Females are chocolate brown with lighter sides, red-brown head and white patch at base of dark gray bill. Feeds on seeds. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Lesser Scaup: Breeds from interior Alaska and northern Canada south to Colorado, Nebraska, and occasionally farther east. Winters along coasts south from British Columbia and Massachusetts to Gulf of Mexico; also inland south of Colorado and the Great Lakes. Prefers ponds and marshes; during migration and winter is found on lakes, rivers, and ponds, and in the southern states on saltwater.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"whew", "purr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Lesser Scaup was first described in 1838 by Thomas Campbell Eyton, an English naturalist. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America.
  • An adult may pretend to be dead (immobile with head extended, eyes open, and wings held close to body) when grasped by a red fox.
  • They have shifted traditional migration routes to take advantage of the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Erie. This poses a risk since zebra mussels are filter feeders and accumulate environmental contaminants rapidly.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Lesser Scaup

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X