Video Quiz: Greater & Lesser Scaup

Andy McGannIdentification, quiz birds12 Comments

A first for us here at Nemesisbird: a video quiz!

The first part of the video features a side-by-side comparison of drake Greater and Lesser Scaup. The birds are far away, and the lighting and resolution is not the best. But this is so often the case when viewing waterfowl in the wild! “National Geographic” cover-photos are the rare exception. The second part of the quiz presents an unidentified Scaup. Take your time to study it, and especially watch how the head shape changes depending on what the bird is doing. Don’t rush to judgement…

And, if you’re willing… submit your answer to the poll below!

Good luck!

[wpsqt name=”Mystery scaup” type=”poll”]

You can find the answer on this post.

  • mike d.

    Believe it is a lesser Scaup

    • mike d.

      gonna change my response after looking more at the head shape when looking directly away, Greater Scaup.

  • MaryFlapainter

    Lesser Scaup

  • John Shortis

    Greater Scaup. Better light would have made id easier but I could occasionally make out some green on the head, the Lesser Scaup has a purple-glossed head.

  • Briana C.

    My money is on greater. The head isn’t as peaked as in a lesser scaup. And when viewed from a distance the greater scaup seems to have a head more proportionate to its body size. The lesser looks like its head is slightly too big for its body. 

  • Ron Crandall

    Based on head shape, I would say lesser.

  • Laurence Butler

    I’ll go with Greater Scaup due to the more rounded head and it being closer in size to the female Mallards.

  • Kshigh

    when there can be a comparison, my method is “PPLL,” that is, Purple, Pointy (headed), Littler, Lesser. Since not a good variety of scaup to compare, I’d guess Lesser Scaup since I had glimpses of purple, not green on the head

  • John Shortis

    I’ve watched this a dozen times now and I don’t know….I said Greater at first, but the rear view head shape shows quite a narrow head which leans towards Lesser. And there is a bit of a peak on the crown, the bird looks substantially smaller than the nearby Gadwalls, and in certain lights I could detect a purple gloss as well as green. Also the black nail on the bill is very small, averages bigger on the Greater. Could it even be a hybrid? If not, on balance, I’ll go for Lesser Scaup now. 

  • gretchen

    it’s a tough one, but I am answering greater although at first I thought it was a lesser

  • Troberts2459