Lesser Scaup

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Aythya affinis

The Lesser Scaup drake has a black head with a purplish sheen, gray bill with a black tip, black breast with white flanks and a black rump. The back is mottled with black and white. The hen has a brown head and breast and white at the base of her black tipped gray bill. The Lesser Scaup nests near prairie wetlands.

Length: 17"
Weight: 1 7/8 lbs.

illustration of scaup hen and eclipse drake

illustration of a lesser scaup wingsillustration of a greater scaup wings

Except for the wing marks, greater and lesser scaup appear nearly identical in the field.

The light band near the trailing edges of the wings runs almost to the tip in the greater scaup, but only about half way in the lesser.

Greater scaup prefer large open water areas; lesser scaup often use marshes and ponds.

illustration of a greater and lesser scaup drake

Both species migrate late, sometimes just before freezeup.

Flock movements are rapid, often erratic, usually in compact groups.

Lesser Scaup
illustration of a typical flock pattern for scaup

illustration of lesser scaup in flightillustration of greater scaup in flightside view illustration of a lesser scaup in flight

Hens are silent; drake lesser scaup purr; drake greater scaup have a discordant scaup, scaup.