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Lesser Scaup

[ Canvasback ] [ Common Goldeneye ] [ Burrow's Goldeneye ]
[ Bufflehead ] [ Ferruginous ]   [ Smew ]
[ Greater Scaup ] [ Lesser Scaup ] [ Hooded Merganser ]
[ Rosy Billed Pochard ] [ Redhead Pochard ] [ Red Crested Pochard ]
[ Tufted ]



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. 

Female 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 length.


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. 


General Comments

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

How to Order