© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M., W. & F. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland), Pohjolan linnut värikuvin. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Aythya marila

  • Name also: Greater Scaup
  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A diving duck, slightly larger and stockier than the similar Tufted Duck. Has no crest. Males have pale grey backs, females’ backs are pale brown and they have a pale patch around the base of their bill and on their cheeks. Their bills are pale bluish grey with black tips.
  • Size: Length 42–51 cm, wingspan 71–80 cm, weight 860–900 g.
  • Nest: Among vegetation or in an open site, made of grass and down.
  • Breeding: 7–12 eggs laid May–June, incubated by female for 24–25 days. Ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching and quickly learn to find food, but stay together as a brood with their mother. They learn to fly at the age of about 7–8 weeks.
  • Distribution: Breeds around the islands and coasts of the Gulf of Bothnia and in lakes in the open fells of Northern Finnish Lapland. Scarce, and numbers currently declining further. Finnish breeding population estimated at 400–600 pairs.
  • Migration: By day or night. Leaves Finland October–November, returning in May. Winters in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Mediterranean.
  • Diet: Benthic animals, aquatic vegetation.
  • Calls: A harsh “karr karr”.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected. Finland is home to about 26% of the species’ breeding population in the EU. European red list status Vulnerable, globally Least concern.

Male Scaups in breeding plumage may be confused with male Tufted Ducks, but they are slightly larger, their backs are greyish white, and they have no crest. They have a green metallic sheen on their heads and a violet sheen on their chests. Females are paler brown than female Tufted Ducks, and have more white on their bellies. They have a broad white band around the base of the bill, and often also a small pale cheek patch.

Scaups have white wing bars. Their heads are large and rounded. The way that their heads slant gives them a slightly triangular appearance. They have bluish grey legs, black-tipped grey-blue bills, and yellow irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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