Greater Scaup

Aythya marila
Greater scaup females have a light colored ring at teh base of their bill/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

The Greater scaup is abundant during the winter months in and near the Refuge, especially on the Columbia River. It is a diving duck that feeds on plants, mollusks and insects. It brings its food to the surface to eat it. Its name may come from its call. When trying to attract a mate the male’s display call sounds like the words, scaup, scaup.  The name “blue-bill” comes from having a blue-gray bill with a black tip. The head of the male is glossy green in good light but the head, neck and breast appear to be black most of the time.   Females are brown all over. They have a bold white patch at the base of the bill and often have a distinct white ear patch.

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Facts About Greater Scaup

Runs over the water to get airborne

Yellow eye

Called a “Bluebill”