Greater Scaup Aythya marila (Linnaeus, 1761)    Synonyms: American Scaup Duck, Bay Blackhead, Big Blackhead, Blue-Bill, GRSC.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Anseriformes   >   Family Anatidae   >   Genus Aythya   

Status:

Greater Scaup breed in the far north (Canada). They are seen in Maryland mainly during migration and in winter, in brackish bays. Both Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup are diving ducks and are often considered sea ducks. Lesser Scaup are much more common in the Chesapeake Bay than are Greater Scaup, which gather in large flocks in the ocean far from shore (Lippson and Lippson, 2006).

Description:

Greater and Lesser Scaup can be difficult to differentiate from one another, especially when seen at a distance. The larger overall size and smoothly rounded head of the Greater Scaup help distinguish it from the Lesser Scaup, which has a peaked crown. Also, seen up close, the Greater Scaup has a slightly larger bill, with a wider black tip. In both species, the female is brown, with a white patch at the base of the bill.

Where to find:

Scaup raft up in the more open waters of the Bay.

Relationships:

In the lower, saltier parts of the Bay and its tributaries, both Scaup species tend to feed on mollusks, insects, and crustaceans, whereas in less salty parts of the system, they feed more on vegetation, such as seeds, pondweeds, wild celery (American Eelgrass), and widgeon grass (Lippson and Lippson, 2006).

There are 283 records in the project database.

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A Greater Scaup in Wicomico Co., Maryland (3/4/2007). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup off Kent Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (12/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A hen Greater Scaup in Howard Co., Maryland (2/17/2015). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup off Kent Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (12/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A hen Greater Scaup off Kent Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (12/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A hen Greater Scaup off Kent Island, Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (12/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A hen Greater Scaup in Harford Co., Maryland (1/15/2015). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

Greater Scaups in Baltimore Co., Maryland (2/9/2020). Photo by Emily Stanley. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Calvert Co., Maryland (3/23/2012). Photo by Jim Stasz. (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)

Greater 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)

A hen Greater Scaup in Harford Co., Maryland (1/29/2018). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

Drake and hen Greater Scaup in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/14/2021). (c) fkf2h, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by fkf2h via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/14/2021). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/14/2021). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Worcester Co., Maryland (2/28/2020). Photo by Jim Stasz. (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 hen Greater Scaup in Howard Co., Maryland (2/17/2015). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

A male Greater Scaup in Kent Co., Maryland (1/2/2019). Photo by Matthew Addicks. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/14/2021). (c) Ashley M Bradford, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in Worcester Co., Maryland (1/16/2018). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Greater Scaups in Worcester Co., Maryland (1/16/2018). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup landing among Bufflehead in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/1/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in flight in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/1/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in flight in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/1/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Greater Scaup in flight in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/1/2014). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)


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