Blue-bill (Broad-bill) or Greater and Lesser Scaup
Scientific Name: Aythya marila and Aythya affinis
Greater Scaup- Known colloquially as the “broad-bill” or “blue-bill,” the Greater Scaup, and its Slightly smaller relative the Lesser Scaup, present one of the more difficult problems of identification. Away from their breeding grounds, scaup are usually found in large flocks on water. The Greater Scaup shows a preference for salt water.
Lesser Scaup- The Lessor Scaup is more often associated with fresh water than its larger relative the Greater Scaup. Also called “broad-bill”or “blue-bill,” the Lesser Scaup is an expert swimmer and diver.
Both species of scaup feed on aquatic plants as well as insects and crustaceans.
The Greater Scaup male has a finely barred gray back, black breast, bright white sides, longer white wing stripe seen in flight and an iridescent blackish-green round head. The Lesser Scaup male has a finely barred gray back, black breast, bright white sides, shorter white wing stripe seen in flight and an iridescent purplish head. Its bill is pale blue. The female is dark brown with white around the base of the bill.
Greater Scaup- Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada south to Quebec; irregular summer resident south to Michigan and Nova Scotia. Winters on the East and West coasts, the Great Lakes, and less commonly the Mississippe Valley
Lesser Scaup- Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada through Manitoba and south through northeastern Colorado and Iowa. Winter along the East and West coasts as well as inland south of Colorado and the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.
(reference: National Audubon Society Pocket Guide)
East Coast Waterfowlers Capt Steve King, NY
Ocean State Outfitters Capt Jeremiah Brooks, RI, MA
Cassel’s Waterfowl Outfitters Capt Dennis Cassel, NJ
Ragged Reef Outfitters, Capt Bill Nyman
Land and Lake imaging, Danny Klauss “photographer”
Flyway Taxidermy, Jerry Froelich “taxidermist”
Alaska Trophy Adventures, Capt Charlie Summerville