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.
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.