Aythya affinis - (Eyton, 1838)
Lesser Scaup
Other English Common Names: lesser scaup
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Aythya affinis (Eyton, 1838) (TSN 175134)
French Common Names: petit fuligule
Spanish Common Names: Pato Boludo-Menor
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104109
Element Code: ABNJB11070
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 10655

© Dick Cannings

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Aythya affinis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Despite declines, numbers are still high relative to many other species.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (26Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5N), Alaska (S3N,S5B), Arizona (S5N), Arkansas (S5N), California (SNRB,SNRN), Colorado (S4B), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S4N), District of Columbia (S2S3N), Florida (S5N), Georgia (S5), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (S3B,S3N), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (S4N), Iowa (S5N), Kansas (S4N), Kentucky (S4N), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S1S3N), Maryland (S4N), Massachusetts (S5N), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRM), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNRN,SNRM), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S4N), Nebraska (S3), Nevada (S1B,S3N), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (S4B,S5N), North Carolina (S5N), North Dakota (SNRB), Oklahoma (S5N), Oregon (S3B,S4N), Pennsylvania (S3N), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (S4B), Tennessee (S4N), Texas (S3B,S5N), Utah (SHB,S3S4N), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNRN), Washington (S3N,S4B), West Virginia (S3N), Wisconsin (S4N), Wyoming (S3B,S4N)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S4S5B,S5N), Labrador (S4B,SUM), Manitoba (S4S5B), New Brunswick (S1B,S4M), Newfoundland Island (S3N,SUM), Northwest Territories (S3B), Nova Scotia (SNA), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S3S4B), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M,S3N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: central Alaska and Mackenzie Delta to northern Manitoba and northern Ontario south to southern British Columbia, northern Idaho, northern Wyoming, northern North Dakota, and Minnesota, casually or irregularly east to central Quebec and south to Washington, central California, northern Utah, central Colorado, central Nebraska, northwestern Iowa, central Illinois, and northern Ohio (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: southern Alaska, and from southern British Columbia, southern Idaho, Utah, northeastern Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, southern Great Lakes region, and New England south throughout the southern U.S., Middle America, and West Indies to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela (very small number at southern limit of this range); small numbers in Hawaii. Primary wintering areas in the U.S. include the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains, Mississippi Valley north to the Ohio River, and the Pacific states, plus southern British Columbia; the highest densities occur in southern Florida and along the Mississippi River (Root 1988).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: With a home range of " a few small lakes" (Austin, Custer, and Afton, 1998), four million birds would easily exceed the 20,000 square kilometer threshold

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This is one of the most common breeding waterfowl in the open boreal forests of Alaska, Yukon, and NW Territories (Austin, Custer, and Afton, 1998).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size estimate of over 4.4 million by National Audubon Society (2014).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Basically unknown as to how many are "good". But with an estimated population size of over four million individuals at least 41 of them should be "good." (National Audubon Society, 2014)

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Degradation of habitat is the major threat to this species (Austin, Custer, and Afton, 1998).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%
Short-term Trend Comments: Near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the number of breeding pairs and brood size were lower in the 1980s than in the 1960s (Nudds and Cole 1991). For the 2001 - 2011 time period, the breeding bird surveys has between a 4.3 to 6.5% increase (Sauer, et. al. 2014).

Long-term Trend: Decline of >30%
Long-term Trend Comments: The breeding bird survey estimates a survey-wide decline of 2.1% per year over the last 45 years, for a cummulative decline of about 60% (Sauer, et. al. 2014).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: No intrinsic vulnerability but population has declined in the long-term. Scientists attribute this to wetland alterations that may have altered this bird's migrating and wintering habitat (National Audubon Society, 2014).

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Major key requirements is non-altered wetland habitat (National Audubon Society, 2014).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Inventory of numbers separate from Greater Scaup is needed.

Protection Needs: Better protection of wetlands and from disturbances at nesting and roosting sites would benefit this species (Austin, Custer, and Afton, 1998).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: central Alaska and Mackenzie Delta to northern Manitoba and northern Ontario south to southern British Columbia, northern Idaho, northern Wyoming, northern North Dakota, and Minnesota, casually or irregularly east to central Quebec and south to Washington, central California, northern Utah, central Colorado, central Nebraska, northwestern Iowa, central Illinois, and northern Ohio (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: southern Alaska, and from southern British Columbia, southern Idaho, Utah, northeastern Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, southern Great Lakes region, and New England south throughout the southern U.S., Middle America, and West Indies to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela (very small number at southern limit of this range); small numbers in Hawaii. Primary wintering areas in the U.S. include the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains, Mississippi Valley north to the Ohio River, and the Pacific states, plus southern British Columbia; the highest densities occur in southern Florida and along the Mississippi River (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Bear Lake (16007), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Cassia (16031), Custer (16037)*, Fremont (16043), Gooding (16047), Jefferson (16051), Kootenai (16055), Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077)
NE Brown (31017), Loup (31115)
OR Malheur (41045)
UT Uintah (49047)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Calamus (10210008)+
14 Lower White (14050007)+*, Lower Green-Diamond (14060001)+*, Lower Green-Desolation Canyon (14060005)+*
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, Middle Owyhee (17050107)+, Jordan (17050108)+*, Lower Owyhee (17050110)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+*, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Egg-laying begins in early May in the south to mid-June in the north. Clutch size: 6-15 (usually 9-12, largest in older females). Incubation: 22-27 days, by female (Terres 1980). Young are tended by female. Variable percentage of yearling females do not breed.
Ecology Comments: NON-BREEDING: usually in flocks on open water (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates northward usually in March-April, arriving in far north late May-early June. Departs far north by the end of September, migrates southward through U.S. mainly October-November. Scaup that breed along Beaufort Sea coast winter throughout broad range of central and southern latitudes in North America, from coast to coast.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Marshes, ponds, and small lakes (AOU 1998). Usually nests near small ponds and lakes, sedge meadows, creeks; in cover 1-2 ft high, within 46 m of water. Often nest on islands among colonies of gulls or terns. NON-BREEDING: During migration and when not breeding, found along coast in sheltered bays, estuaries, and marshes or inland on lakes, ponds, and rivers; on salt water especially if lakes and ponds frozen. In southern winter range, prefers freshwater ponds, lakes, and sloughs with reasonably clear water 1 m or more deep (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on seeds of pondweeds, widgeon grass, wild rice, sedges, bulrushes; also crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic insects. Diet varies with location. Most feeding occurs in fresh water of various depths, often 3-8 m. In midwinter in Louisiana and in spring and fall in northwestern Minnesota, important foods were crustaceans, insects, and mollusks; in fall, immatures fed heavily on amphipods and did not consume fishes or fingernail clams, which were important in adult diets; by dry weight, animal foods comprised over 90% of the diet in fall and spring, 61% in midwinter (Afton et al. 1991). During fall migration in Ontario, fed in large numbers on zebra mussels (DREISSENA) (Wormington and Leach 1992).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 42 centimeters
Weight: 850 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Need to investigate cause of population declines, including the overwinter survival of Lesser Scaups in the Great Lakes region versus those in the more traditional southern states (Austin, Custer, and Afton, 1998).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Diving Ducks and Sea Ducks

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Little information on breeding home ranges; separation distance somewhat arbitrary. Territories not defended in eiders, but goldeneyes defend small (0.18 to 1.45 hectares) territories (Eadie et al. 2000). Philopatry to breeding area strong in Common Eider (Reed 1975, Wakeley and Mendall 1976, Swennen 1990), and Spectacled Eider (Grand and Flint 1997).
Date: 29May2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Notes: Contains all members of the tribes Aythini, Mergini and Oxyurini.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Staging area, Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Molting area, Migration staging area, Wintering area, Non-breeding feeding concentration area, Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of molting, staging, or wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/square kilometer in appropriate habitat. For wintering occurrences, it would be preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Map roosting and feeding areas with separate polygons in same EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Fidelity to molting sites (one or two lakes) high in Barrow's Goldeneye (van de Wetering 1997); fidelity to wintering sites probably high in Barrow's Goldeneye (Savard 1985). Separation distance somewhat arbitrary, set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 21Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Notes: Contains all members of the tribes Aythini, Mergini and Oxyurini.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Mar2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jue, Dean K.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • van de Wetering, D. 1997. Moult characteristics and habitat selection of post-breeding male Barrow's Goldeneye (BUCEPHALA ISLANDICA) in northern Yukon. Technical Report Series No. 296, Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region.

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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