Scaup Identification Question


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.


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?


1 thought on “Scaup Identification Question”

  1. 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

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