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New Zealand Scaup

new zealand scaup

Aythya novaeseelandiae (also known as Papango, black teal)


Freshwater lakes in the high country of the Southern Alps, and lower lakes in the rest of New Zealand


Now restricted to the larger, deeper lakes including 'hydro' lakes


Aquatic insect larvae and seeds


October to February


In dense cover beside water. Made of reeds or grass, the bowl shaped nests are lined with down. Scaup build their nests close to each other, resembling a loose colony.


Five to eight eggs incubated for 28-30 days


Both parents care for and guard ducklings until they're fledged


Humans (careless hunters), introduced mammals and birds of prey

Conservation status:

Not threatened; totally protected endemic species


The scaup is New Zealand's only true diving duck. It can dive more than 2 metres for its food using its feet to swim down. Although most dives last 15-20 seconds, scaup can stay down for over half a minute.

Pairs form for one season only after elaborate courtship displays. They build their nests close to each other, resembling a loose colony. They are highly social and show little aggression.

Widespread until the late 1800s, numbers decreased dramatically due to hunting, competition from introduced ducks and an increase in land being cleared for agriculture.