Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Aythya / Species
< >  Aythya novaeseelandiae - New Zealand scaup (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
Click Photo for full-page view Click Photo for full-page view









Click image to return to Waterfowl Contents FlowchartCONTENTS

Click image for list of Waterfowl Species

Click image for list of Waterfowl Agents
Click image for list of Waterfowl Diseases
Click image for list of Waterfowl Environmental Events / Factors

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Black scaup
Black teal
Maoriente (German)
Neuseeland-Tauchente (German)
Fuligule de Nouvelle-Zélande (French)
Moillon noir (French)
Porrón Maorí (Spanish)
Pato de Nueva Zelandia (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


Return to top of page


Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25.

Aviculture references:
J23.13.w6, B29, B40, B94, B128.w1, B139
D1, D8.

Other References

Click image for main Reference Section

Return to top of page

TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

Return to top of page

Aviculture Information


General information:
  • Pochards are diving ducks which spend most of their time on water, and are ungainly on land. They are generally hardy, sociable and easy to maintain in captivity. They should be kept with deep water available for diving, three to seven feet suggested (B29), or at least half the area 60cm and preferably one metre deep (D1), with shallow sloping banks for easy exit from the water, also islands, good marginal vegetation and loafing areas. Water providing a good supply of natural animal and vegetable food is preferred.
  • These ducks may be kept in mixed collections with dabbling ducks, including smaller species such as teal. They should be fed wheat in water, encouraging their natural diving behaviour. Pellets should also be fed. They may breed better if a group rather than single pair kept, as this allows their normal group displaying activity.
  • 12x12x14 inch (30x30x35cm) nest box with 5 inch (12.5cm) entrance hole suggested, placed under cover at the edge of the pond (B128.w1).

(B29, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • New Zealand scaup are sociable, suitable for keeping in groups and in mixed collections - they ignore other species. May be left in mixed collection for breeding. Large water areas are prefered. Abrasive substrates should be avoided. May be fed mixed grain and pellets together with green food - particularly aquatic plants
  • Easy to breed. Dense cover near water preferred for nesting, will also utilise medium-length grass and ground level or raised nest boxes and other structures. In New Zealand, laying may begin late September, but is usually later, with nesting completed by the end of January. Laying occurs mainly April to May in the Northern hemisphere; in Australia mainly late spring, but recorded July to March in collections. May lay up to three replacement clutches if the eggs are removed. Eggs and ducklings may be parent, bantam or artificially incubated and reared.
  • Duckweed or other fine (or fine-chopped) green food is essential for the ducklings and should may up at least 50% of the diet, with starter crumbs also fed.
  • Hybrids reported with Aythya ferina - Common pochard, Aythya nyroca - Ferruginous pochard, Aythya australis - Hardhead.

(J23.13.w6, B29, B94, B139).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: L 11.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

Click image for main Aviculture Section

Return to top of page

External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 16-18 inches, 40-46cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 550-746g (B1).
Male 630-760g, average 695g (B3); mean 1.5 lbs. (B8).
Female 545-690g, average 610g (B3); mean 1.3 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

Return to top of page


Adult Bill Male Blue-grey with black nail (B3, B25).
Variations (If present) Darker grey with black nail (B3, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Male Yellow (B3, B6, B8, B25).
Variations(If present) Brown (B3, B6, B8, B25).
Juvenile Bill Darker grey with black nail (B3, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Brown (B3, B25).

Return to top of page


Adult Male Grey/blackish (B2, B3, B25).
Variations (If present)  
Juvenile Grey/blackish (B2, B3, B25).

Return to top of page


Adult Male Head and neck green-and-purple iridescent black, upperparts black with faint brown vermiculations, breast black, flanks black-brown, abdomen whitish mottled with brown, tail and tailcoverts black. Wing black-brown, secondaries white with black tips (B3, B6, B8, B25).
Variations (If present) Female:- dark brown where male black, with white around bill (B1, B3, B6, B25).
Juvenile Similar to female but abdomen more white and no white on head (B1, B3, B25).

Return to top of page

Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts brown with small whitish spots on wings and rump; underparts and face buff- or brownish-white, with bark eyestripe (B1, B6, B8).
Bill: Reddish-brown (B6).
Feet: Brown (B6).

Return to top of page


Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins October/November (B1); October to March (B3, B6, B25); October to February (B8).
No. of Clutches --

Return to top of page

Nest placement and structure

On ground near water, in dense vegetation, cup of reeds, grass, other vegetation, thick down-lining (B1, B3, B6, B8, B25).

Return to top of page

Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 4-8 (B1, B8).
Range 2-15 (B1, B8); 5-8 (B3).
Egg Description Creamy-white to mocha-brown (B3, B8); size: 64x41mm; weight: 63g (B3).

Return to top of page


28-31 days (B8); 27-30 days (B1, B3).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page


60-70 days (B8); about 75 days (captive) (J23.13.w6, B1).

Return to top of page

Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

Return to top of page


Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive in shallowish water, also chase surface insects (B1, B8, B25).
Newly-hatched Dive to feed from shortly after hatching (B3).

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary or in loose groups (B1, B3)
Incubation By female, with male often on water close by (B8).
Newly-hatched Tended by female, sometimes merge temporarily (B8).


Return to top of page

Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Generally found in small groups, with larger flocks (up to 50 birds) in winter (B6, B8, B25).
Inter-specific --

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

Pairs form at start of breeding season (B25)

Return to top of page

Predation in Wild

Raptors (B8).

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns

Loaf on water, shore or partially submerged logs during the day; flies little (B6, B8, B25).
Circadian Most active early evening, also feed at night (B6, B8, B25).

Return to top of page

Natural Diet


Aquatic invertebrates and aquatic vegetation (B1).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page

Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


New Zealand: North Island (scattered) and South Island (western), up to 1,000metres. Sedentary (B1, B19)

Occasional and Accidental




Return to top of page


Large, deep coastal lagoons, freshwater lakes, ponds, reservoirs, slow rivers (B1, B19, B25).

Return to top of page


Intraspecific variation


Return to top of page

Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not globally threatened. Low numbers (5-10,000) but increasing as makes use of hydro-electric reservoirs as new habitat, and due to breed-and-release programme on North Island (B1, B25).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Loss of habitat (B8).

Return to top of page

Captive Populations

Well represented in collections (B8).

Return to top of page



Return to top of page