Two scaup species live in North America: the Greater Scaup prefers salt water and is found in America and Eurasia, while the Lesser Scaup prefers freshwater and is found only in North America. The Lesser Scaup is one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America Appearance.
The east and west shorelines of the Point Pelee Peninsula, as well as the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, in early spring and late fall are the best locations to view large numbers of Lesser Scaup. If the water on the lake stays open into December, concentrations in the tens of thousands are not unheard of and once the lake freezes, the Detroit River can also be home to large numbers of this species. This species is a diving duck and often is found eating zebra mussels, which has been attributed to the large concentrations in this area.
Medium-sized diving duck.
Slight bump or peak on back of head.
Bill bluish with small black tip.
Male with black head, chest, and rear end, and gray sides (black on the ends and white in the middle).
Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Head, neck, upper back, and breast black; head with purplish iridescence. Back white, covered with thin, black wavy lines. Rump black. Belly white. Sides white, with some fine dark streaks. Undertail black.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Similar to female, but with only a few white feathers on face instead of a large white patch. Head and neck blackish brown. Breast dark with some white edging to feathers. Back brown with white edges to feathers. Underparts mottled brownish and white. Tail dark grayish.
White area at base of bill. Head and neck dark brown with some light mottling. Back darkish brown with white flecks. Breast buffy brown. Belly whitish. Sides and flanks brown. Tail dark brown.
Similar to adult female.
*Image and description were sourced from: allaboutbirds.org