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Conservation status: Red

Scaup are diving ducks with a resemblance to tufted ducks. Males have black heads, shoulder and breast, white flanks, grey back and a black tail. Females are brown, with characteristic white patches around the base of the bill. In flight they show white patches along the length of the trailing edge of the wing. Only a handful breed in the UK every year, making them our rarest breeding duck.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Aythya marila

Family

Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

Best looked for in winter on estuaries such as the Dee in Cheshire, the Solway Firth, the Firth of Forth and the Moray Firth. Also, look on enclosed waters such as Lough Neagh in Ireland. A small number occur inland on deeper waters, where they associate with pochards and tufted ducks.

When to see them

Mainly in winter, from late October to March.

What they eat

Shellfish, crustacea and small insects.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1-5 pairs12,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

Audio

Lauri Hallikainen, Xeno-canto

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