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Lesser vs. Greater Scaup

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Salt water, Quebec Coast, June.   Unquestionably a bonded pair -- stayed right together over several days. 


To me, the male looks more like a Lesser, the female more like a Greater.  Any thoughts?



male scaup.jpg

female scaup.jpg

male head profile.jpg

pair together 2.jpg

pair together 3.jpg

male wing pattern A.jpg

male wing pattern B.jpg

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Also, look at the last two photos of the male flapping his wings.  The white stripe only extends about halfway out the wing- a good field mark for Lesser when seen well like this. Very different from Greaters in this respect.

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I'm not sure that the female is a Lesser -- the head shape seems to be consistently closer to Greater. In June on salt water, you're not likely to have a mated pair. These are likely birds that aren't actually breeding right now.

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Agreed. I purposely said bonded rather than mated, as these birds, if Lesser, are several hundred miles from their breeding area. Greater Scaup, however, do breed on the Gaspé Peninsula, where I sit. But they are inseparable.  

I have additional photos if needed.  I never thought this was going to be a slam-dunk.

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