Jan. 12, 2024: Wintering male Greater Scaup ducks in Falmouth exhibit a glossy green head, black neck and upper breast, white lower breast and belly, with a vermiculated black back. The distinctive speculum on the wings is white with a thin black border. This Scaup was recently seen paddling around the northeast corner of Salt Pond.

Greater scaup (Aythya marila) are migratory ducks that breed in the northern parts of North America and winter in more southerly regions. During the winter, they often migrate to coastal areas, bays, estuaries, and large inland lakes. Cape Cod, being a coastal region in Massachusetts, can be a very suitable wintering habitat for these ducks.

In winter, Greater Scaup primarily feed on aquatic invertebrates, mollusks, and small fish. They are diving ducks and spend much of their time underwater foraging for food. Coastal areas with a mix of shallow and deep water, along with suitable food sources, make for ideal wintering habitats.

Falmouth’s extensive coastline and various water bodies provide diverse habitats for waterfowl, including Greater Scaup. Conservation efforts and the availability of suitable food and habitat are essential factors for the well-being of these ducks during their winter stay.