Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis (Eyton, 1838)    Synonyms: Blue-Bill, Brass-eyed Blackhead, LESC, Little Blackhead, Small Blackhead.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Anseriformes   >   Family Anatidae   >   Genus Aythya   

Status:

Lesser Scaup, like Greater Scaup, are diving ducks. Lesser Scaup breed mostly in Canada and occur in Maryland mainly during migration and in winter. They raft up in large flocks in winter in sheltered bays and inlets.

Description:

Note the peaked crown of the head, the thin nail (tip of bill), and, in the male, the traditionally cited purple gloss on the head. However, note that gloss color (green=Greater, purple=Lesser) is not considered a reliable field mark on its own. Female is brown overall, with a bold white patch at the base of the bill.

Where to find:

Lesser Scaup are much more common in the Chesapeake Bay than are Greater Scaup. A good place to find wintering Lesser Scaup is at the Oakley Street waterfront on the Choptank River, in Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland. Large rafts can also sometimes be found in the Potomac River south of Washington, DC.

There are 386 records in the project database.

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A drake Lesser Scaup in Baltimore City, Maryland (3/23/2013). Photo by Jon Corcoran. (MBP list)

A drake Lesser Scaup along the Cambridge waterfront, Maryland (2/10/2008). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)(More of this species)

Lesser Scaup in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (1/30/2019). Photo by Emily Carter Mitchell. (MBP list)

A drake Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/2/2013). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A drake Lesser Scaup in Cambridge, Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/25/2015). Photo by Sanjib Bhattacharyya. (MBP list)

A hen Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/2/2013). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (1/21/2018). Photo by Andy Connelly. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (12/5/2021). (c) tomfeild, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Tom Feild. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Baltimore, Maryland (12/4/2012). Photo by Jon Corcoran. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/23/2010). (c) Frode Jacobsen, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Frode Jacobsen via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/16/2020). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/13/2019). (c) Judy Gallagher, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Judy Gallagher. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (3/3/2017). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (3/2/2017). Photo by Emily Carter Mitchell. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (3/8/2021). (c) Judy Gallagher, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Judy Gallagher. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in Baltimore City, Maryland (9/2/2015). Photo by Tim Carney. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/6/2019). Photo by Matthew Addicks. (MBP list)

A Greater Scaup (left), Tufted Duck (middle), and Lesser Scaup (right) in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/11/2009). Photo by Steve Collins. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (3/19/2022). (c) Jonathan Irons, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Jonathan Irons. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/23/2021). (c) jderby125, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by jderby125 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/2/2021). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/16/2020). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Frederick Co., Maryland (2/25/2022). No rights reserved. Photo by Andy Wilson via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (11/22/2020). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (11/22/2020). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (11/22/2020). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/2/2021). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/16/2020). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (1/2/2021). (c) Stephen John Davies, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Stephen John Davies via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/16/2020). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Lesser Scaup in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (3/25/2017). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

A comparison of first-winter male Aytha ducks: Greater Scaup (left), Lesser Scaup (middle) and Ring-necked Duck in Tompkins Co., New York (1/8/2012). Photo by Chris Wood. (MBP list)

A drake Lesser Scaup in Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/1/2014). Photo by Sanjib Bhattacharyya. (MBP list)

A drake Lesser Scaup in flight in Cambridge, Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/14/2015). Photo by Matthew Addicks. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup in flight in Cambridge, Maryland (1/27/2013). Photo by George Armistead. (MBP list)

A Lesser Scaup (tail mid-dive) in Cambridge, Dorchester Co., Maryland (2/14/2015). Photo by Matthew Addicks. (MBP list)


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