New Zealand Scaup Duck
The New Zealand Scaup Duck is gregarious diving ducks common throughout New Zealand. Compact and blackish, they have the silhouette of a bath-toy duck. Large approachable flocks are a feature of the Rotorua and Queenstown lakeshores, and scaup are also common on the Avon River that flows through Christchurch.
Male – The male New Zealand Scaup duck has a black head and neck with a green and purple sheen, bright yellow eyes, blue-grey beak with black tip, blackish-brown breast, upper-parts, and tail, brown flanks, paler under-parts, dark-brown wings with white secondary flight feathers, and the legs and feet are dark-grey.
Female – The female has a lighter brown plumage, lacks the bright yellow eyes of the male, and has a white patch on the face around the beak.
Size: – Typical Adult is 16-18 inches.
Food: – Aquatic plants, small fish, snails, mussels, insects, and larvae.
Habitat: – Freshwater lakes, ponds, and coastal lagoons throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands. It is endemic to New Zealand and non-migratory.
Breeding Season: – October to March.
Eggs: – 5 to 8 (Creamy-white color).
Notes: – The New Zealand Scaup duck, also commonly called the Black Teal, is a diving duck which is endemic to New Zealand. Unlike other Scaup, the New Zealand Scaup does not migrate. The Maori’s call this duck a Papango.
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.