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Jim W

Lesser Scaup?

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Hi all,

I've been going back through some poor pictures from last summer's drive across the continent that I had set aside for later.  I've decided this bird can be ID'd but need a little help.  The picture was taken on 8-31-18 in south-central Saskatchewan.

My thoughts after a little research:

  • White wing stripe looks pretty good for a scaup.
  • White belly looks good for scaup as well.
  • This location is in the breeding range for Lesser Scaup.  It is in the "scarce nonbreeding" range for Greater Scaup.  Per Birdsna, Greater Scaup migrate from Oct-Dec so there should not be any in this area at this time of year (eBird confirms that)
  • The white wing stripe on Greater Scaup extends out onto the inner primaries.  On Lesser, the white stripe is usually only on the secondaries (the inner primaries are more grey).  Tough to tell in these pics, but I would say it favors Lesser.

So, I think this is a Lesser Scaup.  But the million dollar question which I need help on...  Is it safe to call this a scaup based on the wing stripe and belly alone?  I can't think of other birds with a wing stripe like this, but maybe some of you veterans can think of other candidates?

PS... these pics where taken at great distance and the light was poor.  The pics were cropped and lightened.

Thanks in advance!






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Yes, Lesser. White not extending to primaries is diagnostic. Everything else that I can see looks good as well.

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