Greater Scaup

1/1600s at f8.0, ISO:800, Canon Mark IV 1D w/800mm


The Greater Scaup is a mid-sized diving duck though it is larger than the closely related Lesser Scaup. It is a circumpolar species, which means that its range circles one of Earth's poles. It spends the summer months breeding in Alaska, northern Canada, Siberia, and the northernmost reaches of Europe. During the winter it migrates south down the coasts of North America, Europe, and Japan. Greater Scaup nest near water, typically on islands in northern lakes or on floating mats of vegetation. They begin breeding at age two, but start building nests in the first year. The drakes have a complex courtship procedure, which takes place on the return migration to the summer breeding grounds and concludes with the formation of monogamous pairs. Females lay a clutch of six to nine olive-buff colored eggs. The eggs hatch in 24 to 28 days. The down-covered ducklings are able to follow their mother in her search for food immediately after hatching. Greater Scaup eat aquatic mollusks, plants, and insects, which they obtain by diving underwater. They form large groups, called "rafts", that can number in the thousands. Their main threat is human development, although they are preyed upon by owls, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and humans. Greater Scaup populations have been declining since the 1980s; however, they are still listed as a species of least concern.
B.C. Canada
 
06/25/2012