Scaup Identification Question

Scaup

One last bird question for tonight. When I first saw this scaup, I thought the shape of the head looked like a Greater Scaup (much more broadly rounded than I associate with Lesser Scaups). However, when it flapped its wings, I saw the white did not extend out on to its primaries.

Scaup

In this case, which is more diagnostic, the shape of the head or the extent of the white on a bird’s wings? What other characteristics might I be able to consider with this lone bird?

Scaup

About matt goff

I am an aspiring naturalist who seeks to learn all that I can about the more-than-human aspects of this place that is my home.
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1 Response to Scaup Identification Question

  1. Rich MacIntosh says:

    Hi Matt, My guess is Greater, despite the wing. Although the head profile is slightly less round than on most Greaters, I still cant turn it into Lesser head. Maybe it is a hybrid. Somewhere recently, I’ll swear someone told me that as many of 10% of Alaskan scaup were hybrids. This is preposertous, but maybe the statement derived from a study, etc. that actually did find numbers of Alaskan hybrids. I think maybe Dave Sonneborn in Anchorage told me this. I did a Google search on Alaska hybrid scaup and came up with little, although hybrid scaup are well known.

    Anyway, I’m no expert, although I do pride myself on being able to find Lesser Scaup among the hordes of Greaters here in Kodiak. So…….again………I vote for Greater…….. or hybrid.

    Cheers, Rich MacIntosh
    Kodiak

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