Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)


French: Petit Fuligule German: Kanadabergente Spanish: Porrón bola

Fuligula affinis


, 1838,

North America


Generally considered to be closest to A. marila. Hybridization with other species of Aythya, particularly A. marila, producing fertile progeny, frequent in captivity. Monotypic.


Breeds from C Alaska E through Canada to CW Quebec and S in USA to California, Colorado and Minnesota. Winters from NW USA and New Jersey S to Panama, Caribbean islands and N Venezuela; also Hawaiian Is.

Descriptive notes

38–48 cm; male 546–1156 g, female 517–1037 g; wingspan 68–77 cm. Breeding male has black head with purplish sheen, black neck, breast and upper mantle... read more


Like other Aythya is mainly vocal during winter/spring courtship period, although female... read more


Inland freshwater, seasonal and semi-permanent lakes, pools and marshes in open country and lightly... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous: seeds, roots and vegetative parts of aquatic plants; also aquatic invertebrates (insects, molluscs, crustaceans), with usual... read more


Starts May/Jun, with peak nesting period Jun and mean date of first nests later for first-year females than adults (20 Jun versus 12–... read more


Migratory, with autumn passage peaking in Sept–Oct and birds arriving in most wintering areas... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and common, locally abundant, being one of the commonest breeding wildfowl in boreal forest zone of Alaska, Yukon and... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).