Bird Identification Challenges

There are many species that provide identification challenges. Several of the challenging IDs are presented in this selection. Select from the list below or the menu items on the left.

 

The Scaup Challenge
The two scaup species (both males) shown below are a difficult identification challenge. The differences seen in these photographs are often difficult to see in the field.

 

 

greater scaup


Greater Scaup
Rounded head, greenish sheen to head
very clean, white sides

 

 

lesser scaup

Lesser Scaup
Almost squarish head, straight up from the base of the bill
hint of tuft on back of head
white sides not as clean as on Greater Scaup
Note the greenish sheen on the head. Lesser Scaup
often show a mix of green and purple in good light.

 

Now for the females.
Note the head shape in both birds, and compare to the males above.

 

greater scaup

Greater Scaup

 

 

lesser scaup

Lesser Scaup