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Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis


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Lesser Scaup, male
credit: BS Thurner Hof/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has black head and neck, former appears shiny purple in good light (green in male Greater). Belly and flanks are white and back is gray, palest towards front. Vent is black; note beady yellow eye. Eclipse plumage pattern recalls adult male, but pale elements are buffy. ADULT FEMALE Mainly brown, palest and grayest on back and flanks. White belly is seen in flight. JUVENILE Similar to adult female.

Dimensions Length: 15-18" (38-46 cm)

Habitat Abundant and widespread, nesting beside marshes and prairie potholes and wintering on pools and lakes further south.

Observation Tips Easiest to observe in winter.

Range California, New England, Rocky Mountains, Florida, Northwest, Southwest, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Texas, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Western Canada

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Familiar diving duck. Similar to Greater Scaup counterparts-see that species' account for details, but peaked crown is reliable diagnostic feature as is upper wing pattern in flight-only inner flight feathers are whitish.