Greater Scaup Duck
The Greater Scaup Duck nest near water, typically on islands in northern lakes or on floating mats of vegetation. They begin breeding at age two, but start building nests in the first year. The drakes have a complex courtship, which takes place on the return migration to the summer breeding grounds and concludes with the formation of monogamous pairs. Females lay a clutch of six to nine olive-buff colored eggs. The eggs hatch in 24 to 28 days. The down-covered ducklings are able to follow their mother in her search for food immediately after hatching.
Male – The male Greater Scaup duck has a black head with a green glossy sheen, a black neck, breast, rump, and tail, yellow eyes and blue-grey beak with black tip, the belly and flanks are white, upper-parts are pale grey with black vermiculation, and legs and feet are greyish-blue.
Female – The female Greater Scaup duck has a brown head and body with a white band at the base of the beak, yellow eyes, darker beak than the male, and sometimes a whitish spot on side of the head.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is much duller than in its breeding plumage with a brownish-black head and neck and a brownish tinge to the rest of the plumage.
Size: – Typical Adult is 16-20 inches.
Food: – Mussels, molluscs, aquatic plant seeds, pond weeds, sedges, and insect larvae.
Habitat: – Lakes, pools, rivers, and coastal waters in North America, northern Europe, and north-western Asia. Winters in coastal areas of North America from USA to Mexico, UK, Mediterranean, Black Sea, India, China, and Japan.
Breeding Season: – Late May or early June.
Eggs: – 7 to 9 (olive-buff color).
Notes: – The Greater Scaup duck is a small diving duck, colloquially called the Bluebill. Unlike the smaller but very similar Lesser Scaup, this duck is found across Eurasia as well as North America.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.