THE SCAUP DUCKS.
THE Scaup Ducks differ from the Pochards in the pattern of the primaries and in having a much broader bill. The bill is also rather wider near the tip than at the base.
The two Indian species of Scaup Ducks resemble each other rather closely. The Tufted Duck at all ages, however, has a pointed crest, short in females and young birds, long in the adult males. In the bill of this species the tip is black as well as the nail. The Scaup has no sign of a crest, and only the nail of the bill is black.
It is well to mention that in the Scaup Duck the speculum is always much wider than in the Tufted Duck, and the black of the breast reaches down much further. These characters, however, are comparative and not of much practical value, unless specimens of the two species are laid side by side.
Adult males of the two species differ con¬ spicuously in the colour of the upper plumage, one having the back and scapulars distinctly vermiculated with grey, and the other having these same parts merely speckled with white. Adult females are easily separated by the amount of pale coloration on or round the base of the bill. In certain stages of the young plumage, the only reliable character by which to separate the two species is the absence or presence of a crest and possibly also the colour of the tip of the upper mandible.
On the general subject of these and other diving Ducks, I do not think I can do better than quote Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey. He says :—" The diving Ducks, as before stated, seek their food at the bottom, differing in this respect from the surface feeders. Their legs are placed farther back, and near the tail; their down and feathers are thicker and more impervious to water, a circumstance, indeed, necessitated by their habit of feeding. Their bodies are rounder, their wings shorter, and their flight very irregular, compared with that of Geese or surface-feeding Ducks. Their pinions beat faster, and show that more exertion is required to sustain and project their heavier bodies.
They do not take long flights, neither are they to be seen, like the former, against the sky. Their flight is hurried and anxious; they never wheel about with the grace and uncertainty of Teal; but fly straight, and with all haste, to places they appear to have previously chosen."