Lesser Scaup: Medium diving duck with finely barred gray back and gray-washed white underparts. Head, neck, and breast are black with purple gloss. Eye is yellow. Bill is blue-gray. Wings are black with large, white patches; tail is black. Dives for food. Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Lesser Scaup: Breeds from interior Alaska and northern Canada south to Colorado, Iowa, and occasionally farther east. Winters along coasts south from British Columbia and Massachusetts to Gulf of Mexico; also inland south of Colorado and the Great Lakes. Prefers ponds and marshes; during migration and winter is found on lakes, rivers, and ponds, and in the southern states on saltwater.
The Lesser Scaup was first described in 1838 by Thomas Campbell Eyton, an English naturalist. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America.
An adult may pretend to be dead (immobile with head extended, eyes open, and wings held close to body) when grasped by a red fox.
They have shifted traditional migration routes to take advantage of the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Erie. This poses a risk since zebra mussels are filter feeders and accumulate environmental contaminants rapidly.
A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.