Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Greater Scaup
 
 

BACK - NEXT

 

Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

TOP

       
  Order Anseriformes - Waterfowl
   Family Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
      Subfamily Anatinae - True Ducks
         Tribe Aythyini - Bay Ducks (Pochards)
  Waterfowl vary in size - from teal to swans. They all have webbed feet and dense, waterproof plumage. Most nest on the ground and the nest is lined with down plucked by the female from her breast. Except for two small groups not found in North America, all belong to one (or two) families.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans are waterfowl with their bill finely serrated or grooved on the edge. Their tongue is fleshy. Their front toes are webbed. Males have a functional penis. They are strong fliers and many migrate long distances. 
True Ducks are sexually dimorphic. The female incubates and cares for the young - the male usually deserts early. Ducks undergo a simultaneous molt of their flight feathers and are flightless until the flight feathers of the alternate plumage regrow. Thus, males wear their nuptial plumage on the winter grounds where pair formation occurs in most species. 
Bay Ducks are heavy-bodied diving ducks that use their feet while underwater.   
     
     
  Greater Scaup, Aythya marila
 
Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        WINTER - Rare (local) / Rare
            ESTUARIES, PONDS (salt or brackish water more likely in winter)
 
 
   Greater Scaup are a bit larger than Lesser Scaup and have a more rounded head and larger stripes of white in the wings. The head and neck of a male in full sun tends to have a greenish iridescence. However, both species can look blue or green, depending on the viewing angle. Head shape remains the best tool - rounded in Greater Scaup, taller with a corner (angled contour) at the rear in Lesser Scaup.
Greater Scaup Greater Scaup
 
Female and Male / Male - Greater Scaup. Anchorage, AK. Photo by Ed Konrad.
   
  RANGE: Greater Scaup breed in the sub-Arctic from Hudson Bay to Alaska. They winter along both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico, south to Baja in winter. They form small to large winter flocks, sometimes with Lesser Scaup.
  BREEDING: They breed on the taiga or tundra. Monogamous. One brood. They build a concealed nest in tall marsh grass that is lined with fine grass and down. It is built by the female on a dry hummock and added to during incubation. They lay 7- 9 (5-11) eggs which are incubated 24-28 days. Development is precocial. Young are led to the water after hatching. Young can fly after 35-45 days. They are cared for by the female. Females may parasitize others by laying their eggs in her nest. Nests may also be clustered (semi-colonial). The male deserts when incubation begins. Females may combine their broods and cooperatively care for them.
  DIET: Greater Scaup feed on mollusks (mussels, clams, snails, oysters) and other aquatic invertebrates. They also eat aquatic plants in inland fresh water areas. Individuals can dive to 20 feet and stay underwater for a minute. They may also feed by dabbling or upending. They may feed any time of day or night depending on tidal conditions.
  VOICE: Female gives a rough, hoarse "karr karr..." It is more rasping than in other related Aythya ducks.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook. Kiawah - occasional spring and fall; uncommon winter.
      Coastal - uncommon winter visitor. Hilton Head - uncommon winter visitor. Cape Romain - accidental/absent/common/accidental.
         Huntington Beach
- rare, November - March; exceptional April.
   CBC: Charleston 10, 60, 7, 0, 0, 0, 3000, 0;
             Hilton Head 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 0, 0;
             McClellanville 3, 0, 1, 0, nc, 0, 2, 3; Winyah Bay x, x, 2, 0, 1, 0, 2, 0; Litchfield, Pawley's 1, 3, 0, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0.
   P&G: Rare winter visitor. Dates 31 October - 6 June.
   Avendex: 5 records. Maximum 2,000, Sullivan's Island, 7 February 2006
   Potter: Uncommon winter resident from October to April.
  ●  Rare / accidental. I have not seen Greater Scaup on Seabrook but they should be looked for offshore or in our estuaries in winter. In our area Lesser Scaup are be more likely in fresh water and the Greater Scaup in salt water but not all individuals follow this rule. Lesser Scaup are much more common in our area. The Greater Scaup is more likely along our more northern coast and in the Gulf. Note low numbers in most Christmas Counts...
       
    Banner - Greater Scaup. Fair Hope, AL
 
NEXT
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list

Anchorage, AK