Aythya marila (Linnaeus, 1761) SP SCAUP 2040
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Scaup, Paul Hillion

This black and white diving duck is a winter visitor to the loughs, lochs and shallow inshore waters of the UK.

Scaup begin arriving in Britain & Ireland during the second half of October from breeding grounds in Iceland, Scandinavia and western Russia. Numbers continue to build throughout the winter months and, as might be expected, birds from the western part of their range largely occur in western Britain and those from the east in eastern Britain.

The Wetland Bird Survey shows that around 3,000 Scaup winter in the UK with the largest gatherings found in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Individuals begin to head back to their breeding grounds in March. Breeding occurs in the UK only sporadically, only involving one or two pairs in any given year.


Scaup identification is sometimes difficult. The following article may help when identifying Scaup.

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Identifying diving ducks

Tufted Duck by Edwyn Anderton

Dabbling ducks are so familiar, but there is also a group of common ducks that actively dive on freshwater for food. One or other is likely to be encountered on still or moving freshwater or even at sea so let this workshop help you to decide which diving duck you are seeing.

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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.




Scaup occupy a wide range of coastal and inland areas, though the greatest numbers are found on the coast in northern and western Britain and northeastern and southwestern Ireland.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Scaup winter range has exanded by 57% since the 1981–84 Winter Atlas with gains in some coastal areas, including the Northern Isles, Moray Firth and southwest England, and also at inland sites. This contrasts with a marked population reduction, especially in Ireland.

Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK


Scaup is a localised winter visitor, present from September to March, though some birds occasionally summer.

Weekly occurence of Scaup from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Scaup ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Scaup, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Lach-mhara
Welsh: Hwyaden Benddu
Catalan: morell buixot
Czech: polák kaholka
Danish: Bjergand
Dutch: Topper
Estonian: merivart
Finnish: lapasotka
French: Fuligule milouinan
German: Bergente
Hungarian: hegyi réce
Icelandic: Duggönd
Irish: Lacha Iascán
Italian: Moretta grigia
Latvian: kerra
Lithuanian: žiloji antis
Norwegian: Bergand
Polish: ogorzalka (zwyczajna)
Portuguese: negrelho
Slovak: chochlacka morská
Slovenian: rjavka
Spanish: Porrón bastardo
Swedish: bergand
Folkname: Mussel/Norwegian Duck

Links to more information from

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