New Zealand Scaup
New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Aythya novaeseelandiae, commonly known as NZ Scaup, are diving ducks that spend a lot of time underwater where they can travel considerable distances.
Both genders have dark plumage but are easily distinguished. Males have dark black-brown plumage, iridescent blue-green head and wings, and lighter mottling on the chest and underparts. His iris is yellow and bill blue-grey. Females are a duller chocolate brown with paler underparts. Her iris is brown and bill grey, normally with a ring of white feathers at the base. Juveniles resemble females until 12 weeks old when the iris in males takes on its characteristic yellow colour. In flight, all birds have a broad white upper-wing bar and pale white underwing. Scaup have a fast wing beat and often fly just above the water. They sometimes rest on land, but quickly retreat to water when disturbed.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader