Compare Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, Tufted Duck & Ring-necked Duck

These four ducks have a similar black and white plumage and i have outlined the differences below.

As can be seen on the right of this page, the Greater Scaup has a much more rounded head then the Lesser Scaup. Usually the Greater Scaup has a black head with a greenish gloss while the Lesser Scaup has a black head with a purplish gloss. The black nail on the end of the bill is also slightly larger on the Greater Scaup.

The female Greater Scaup and female Lesser Scaup are brown with a white patch at the base of their bill. The male Greater Scaup in eclipse and male Lesser Scaup in eclipse have a much duller and brownish plumage.

The male Tufted Duck and Ring-necked Duck differ from the Scaup by having a black back or upperparts.

The male Tufted Duck has a distinctive tuft at the back of its black head which has a purplish & greenish gloss. The male Ring-necked Duck has an angular black head with purplish sheen and has a white band around the base of the bill.

The female Tufted Duck is dark brown with a small tuft at the back of the head and white at the base of the bill. The male Tufted Duck in eclipse is more similar to the female with a brownish plumage.

The female Ring-necked Duck is dark brown with whitish chin & throat and brown eyes with white eye-ring but like the male has an angular-shaped head. The male Ring-necked Duck in eclipse has a brownish plumage, dark-brown head, yellow eyes, but lacks the females eye-ring.

Links:

Greater Scaup page

Lesser Scaup page

Tufted Duck page

Ring-necked Duck page

Female Ducks page

Ducks in eclipse plumage page



Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup identification:

Greater Scaup & Lesser Scaup
The larger Greater Scaup (Aythya Marila) has a much more rounded head when compared with the Lesser Scaup (Aythya Affinis) which has a small tuft at its hind crown. Adult male Greater Scaup in breeding plumage have a black head with a glossy green sheen while the Lesser Scaup generally has a black head with a purplish glossy sheen although it can occasionally have a greenish iridescence.

Greater Scaup & Lesser Scaup
The Greater Scaup also has a larger black nail on the tip of its bill.

Tufted Duck and Ringed-necked Duck identification:

Tufted Duck & Ring-necked Duck
Unlike the male Scaup, the male Tufted Duck (Aythya Fuligula) and Ring-necked Duck (Aythya Collaris) in breeding plumage both have black upperparts (back).

The male Tufted Duck has a black head with a purplish & greenish sheen and a tuft at the back of its head. The male Ring-necked Duck has a black angular head which has a purplish sheen and has a distinctive band of white around the base of its bill, it also has a much less distinct cinnamon neck ring which gives the duck its name.