The Lesser Scaup Male has very light gray body, blackish
chest, and black-appearing head. Similar to the
Greater Scaup, but crown is higher and forehead
steeper, giving the head a more angular appearance.
Head of male glossed with purple, not green.
dark brown with a small white face patch; not easily
distinguishable from female Greater Scaup. In flight,
white stripe is shorter than that of the Greater
Scaup, which extends three-fourths of the wing's
They typically breed near interior lakes, ponds, and sedge meadows. Deeper, more permanent wetlands are preferred. Lesser
Scaup prefer wetland habitats with emergent vegetation, such as bulrushes, since they often harbor abundant populations of aquatic insect larvae. Females nest in close proximity to open water and lay an average of 9 eggs.
Once incubation begins, the male Lesser Scaup leaves the female and goes to molt on some relatively large, isolated lake. These lakes are used year after year during molt, and may be in the immediate vicinity of the breeding wetlands or many miles away. They are relatively shallow and contain abundant food and suitable cover.
The nest of a Lesser Scaup is usually lined with a thick layer of down plucked by the mother from her own breast. Nests of poor-condition females may lack down and instead may contain small, grayish-white feathers plucked from beneath the outer body feathers.
Lesser Scaup dive to feed on seeds of pondweeds, widgeon grass, wild rice, sedges, and bulrushes. They also feed on crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic insects, and small fishes.
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Lesser Scaup Drake
Lesser Scaup Pair
Lesser Scaup Hen
Lesser Scaup ducklings