Bird of the Week: Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

This striking black-and-white duck is a common winter visitor to large bodies of water, often feeding in large groups. The male is easily identified by his bold monochrome plumage and bright yellow eye, while the female’s coloring is more muted. Distinguishing Lesser Scaups from closely related Greater Scaups can be exceedingly difficult; fortunately for us, the Greater Scaup is not found in Texas. These ducks are born divers: ducklings are already able to dive for food on their hatching day! Most are too buoyant, however, to get very far. Within a few weeks, they will be able to swim up to 60 feet underwater, and stay submerged for 25 seconds at a time. Lesser Scaups can be found across the southern United States in winter, often traveling as far afield as Hawaii.

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.

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