American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 15

LESSER SCAUP DUCKS (Mania affinis) winter most abundantly in the interior of the United States, while the last species is the most commonly found on the coasts during winter. They nest chiefly in Arctic America, but casually south to Colorado and Iowa, the nest being on the ground in or close to marshes, as is usual with most ducks. They appear in numbers in the States late in fall and are, during winter, one of our most common species. A few of them pass the severe weather just as far north as open water can be found. They usually are found in quite large flocks; and as several flocks often unite and float about in the middle of lakes or ponds, they have become known locally as "Raft Ducks."

     They dive in very deep water to pull up grasses or pick up mollusks from the bottom. Owing to their watermanship, wounded Scaups arc difficult birds to secure, for, other means of escape failing, they will dive and hang to grass at the bottom, drowning themselves rather than be captured; first, however, they will attempt to escape discovery by immersing the body and leaving just the bill protruding, a ruse that usually works successfully.

     The females of the two Scaups are so nearly alike that only the matter of size can determine them with certainty.


RING-NECKED DUCK (Marila collaris). This species, which is of the same size as the last, is not apparently abundant anywhere, but, during the proper seasons, occurs throughout North America in small flocks or individuals in company with Scaups. The name Ring-necked Duck is owing to the narrow collar or band of chestnut feathers separating the purplish-black head from the intense black of the breast and back. They are locally known as "Ringbills," for the reason that the black bill has a bluish band across the middle. The female is quite like that of the Scaup, but can always be distinguished by the prominent eye-ring. Notice, too, that the male has a tiny white spot on the chin.