LESSER SCAUP


Aythya affinis


Description:

This bird is often referred to as the "bluebill". Smaller than the Greater Scaup, this diving duck feeds on a variety of marine life, including clams, mussels, and other sluggish aquatic life. The female will often abandon her young while they are still in the downy stage. The abandoned young will sometimes join other broods. This often results in a large number of young Scaup being cared for by one or more females.


Appearance:

General: 15 to 18 inches in length.

Male: Black head with purple irridescence. Black chest. White flanks and belly. Gray/white back with small black spots. Black tail and coverts. Pale blue bill. Yellow eyes.

Female: Dark brown body. White belly. White band around base of a gray bill.


Habitat:

Open water (lakes), and coastal waters.


Nesting:

9-12 dark olive-buff eggs with a 21-28 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 45-50 days after hatching. The nest is an open cup made from grass and lined with down. The nest is often hidden in vegetation a good distance from the waters edge.


Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Wild Animal Park, Escondido
  • Fiesta Island entrance area, Mission Bay





Click on an image to see the larger version.

details
Female

details
Female

details
Male

details
Male

details
Male

details
Male

 

 


Home | References
Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.