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NZ Scaup

Two small water birds, one with dark head, blue bill and yellow eye.
Miraz Jordan

Glance at the lakes at the corner of Reay Mackay Grove and Strathnaver Drive and you may think they have many ordinary ducks. Look more closely though and you’ll discover a variety of birds.

One is the pāpango, New Zealand scaup.

Dark birds on a lake with yellow eyes and broad blue bills.

New Zealand scaup are gregarious diving ducks common throughout New Zealand. Compact and blackish, they have the silhouette of a bath-toy duck.

New Zealand scaup are quite unlike any other resident duck species. Dark and squat with a rounded profile, they often occur in large flocks, floating with cork-like buoyancy. Scaup are diving ducks and spend a lot of time underwater, where they can travel considerable distances. Both sexes are dark-plumaged, but are easily distinguished. The male has dark black-brown plumage with iridescent blue-green head and wings, and lighter mottling on the chest and underparts. His iris is yellow and bill blue-grey. The female is a duller chocolate brown, paler on her underparts. Her iris is brown and bill grey, normally with a ring of white feathers at the base.

This item was updated on Monday 27 December 2021

I live at Waikawa Beach and love all the wildlife, fauna and flora.