Aythya affinis

Common Names: Lesser scaup, little bluebill, broadbill
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Ducks, Geese, & Swans

A small North American diving duck that migrates south as far as Central America in winter. Adults are 15-19 inches long, weight 1-2.40 lbs, wing lengths (not wingspans) are about 7.5-7.9 inches in males and 7.3-7.8 inches in females; the tarsus is about 1.4-1.5 inches long, and the bill 1.4-1.7 inches. The wingspan is 27-31 inches. The adult males (drakes) in alternate plumage have a black, effervescent head and a small tuft at the hindcrown, a black breast, a whitish-grey back and wings with darker vermiculations and black outer and greyish-brown inner primary remiges. The underparts are white with some olive vermiculations on the flanks, and the rectrices and tail coverts are black. Adult females (hens) have a white band at the base of the bill, often a lighter ear region, and are otherwise dark brown all over, shading to white on the mid-belly. Drakes in eclipse plumage look similar, but with a very dark head and breast, little or no white on the head and usually some greyish vermiculations on the wings. Immature birds resemble the adult females, but are duller and have hardly any white at the bill base. Both sexes have white secondary remiges, a blue-grey bill with a black 'nail' at the tip and grey feet; the drakes have a bright yellow iris, while that of females is orange or amber and that of immatures is brown. Downy hatchlings look much like those of related species, with dark brown upperparts and pale buff underparts, chin, supercilium and back spots.

Their breeding habitat is inland lakes and marsh ponds.

The lesser scaup is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Edible Notes: Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.