Lesser Scaup - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Lesser Scaup - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Lesser Scaup - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Lesser Scaup - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Lesser Scaup
Aythya affinis

Diving Ducks
Waterfowl Family (Anatidae)

Size: Length: 30 cm Wingspan: 74 cm

Description: The lesser scaup is a dark headed diving duck. The drake has a dark purplish head, neck and breast. The bill is gray-blue. The upper body is gray while the sides are lighter. The white speculum is not visible when swimming. In flight, the speculum is white, but the white extends towards the tips of the wings.

The hens are drab, mainly brown in colour. Their key field identifier is their gray-blue bill with a large white patch at the base of the beak.

Similar Species: The ring-necked duck is similar, but the scaup drake lacks the white on the bill as seen in the ring-necked drake.

Range: This western duck can be seen throughout the Canadian and American Rockies.

Habitat: The lesser scaup can be seen in a diversity of habitats. For nesting, it prefers smaller, shallow lakes and bays, but can be seen swimming on large bodies of water during migrations.

Diet: They dive for small invertebrates, larvae, seeds and aquatic plants.

Nesting: They nest on the ground, near water. Often the nest will be on an island. It is basically a hollow, lined with plants and down into which the hen will lay 8-12 olive to olive-buff eggs. Incubation is by the female, and the precocial chicks will hatch after 26-27 days. The nestlings learn to dive soon after leaving the nest.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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