Lesser & Greater difference

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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Lesser & Greater difference

Postby publius » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:30 pm

How do I tell the difference in a Lesser and Greater Scaup? I'm in MS. and mainly shoot puddlers but have killed a good number of Scaup. We call all of them Bluebills.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Duck Collector » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:29 pm

Ones big, ones small...

A lesser is slightly bigger than a teal, and a greater is around the same size as a mature red head drake...so pretty big. If you live in MS the chances that you have killed a greater are pretty slim, i dont think they come this far down very often. I live in SE Texas and have only killed one greater in 7 years...
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Duck Collector » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:33 pm

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1359685976.588951.jpg
this is a lesser, pretty small
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Ringneck » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:01 pm

Here's some pics I took this season of the 2 side by side.

Lesser on left...greater on right

Image
Image

Greater on top....lesser on bottom

Image
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby tmclaimerFL » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:12 pm

Shot these greaters in the gulf off FL panhandle. Most of the greaters that do come this far stick to the coast and the lessers stay inland

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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby tmclaimerFL » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:13 pm

Here's another pic I found. Hen red next to a hen lesser scaup. Big difference compared to pic above

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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby WisconsinWaterfowler » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:29 pm

On Greaters, the white of the speculum extends into the primaries whereas lessers are strictly in the secondaries kind of like a gadwall. The bill and nail are typically larger in a greater and the bird itself is larger. Location also plays a factor, however, birds can fly and therefore they go wherever they desire. Hope this helped!
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby halfscoop » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:55 am

Greater has an iridescent green head.
Lesser has an iridescent purple head.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby mauserfan » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:35 am

Halfscoop nailed it - this is the most positive way.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Ringneck » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:21 am

Checking the speculum is the only way to 100% tell the difference in the 2 species. The white on the greaters extends onto the primaries and the white on the lessers is restricted to the secondaries (speculum). Refer to the wings in the picture above.

Wisconsin Waterfowler was dead on the money. :thumbsup:
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby tmclaimerFL » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:35 am

Ringneck wrote:Checking the speculum is the only way to 100% tell the difference in the 2 species. The white on the greaters extends onto the primaries and the white on the lessers is restricted to the secondaries (speculum). Refer to the wings in the picture above.

Wisconsin Waterfowler was dead on the money. :thumbsup:

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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby publius » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:09 pm

Thanks guys. Seems like someone had told me about the wing once and I just forgot.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby loon » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:32 am

On Green Bay we shoot a lot of both probably 90%lessers 10% greaters at least this last year it was like that. I agree the wing speculum is the best way to tell. I have a hard time distinguishing the colors purple and green on birds that I've positively identified from the wing speculum , When they come through here they still have a lot of pinfeathers for the most part. The wing is the thing! :thumbsup:
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby halfscoop » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:36 am

Here is a site that I like. Maybe it will help you guys also. It's from Cornell University.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse_tax/6/
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby jimmyscott » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:53 pm

So, let me clarify... The greaters are from the Great Lakes, and the lessers are from the Less Lakes...right?
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Shade » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:19 pm

jimmyscott wrote:So, let me clarify... The greaters are from the Great Lakes, and the lessers are from the Less Lakes...right?


You would think so huh? But no, it's actually the opposite. Kind of like Greenland and Iceland. Iceland is green and Greenland is full of ice... :thumbsup:
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby troutman561 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:37 am

I heard the greaters have a superiority complex.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby high flyer » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:33 pm

halfscoop wrote:Greater has an iridescent green head.
Lesser has an iridescent purple head.

I don't think this is always the case. We killed 3 man limit of what I am fairly positive were lessers the last week of the season. All but a couple were drakes and they all had a greenish tint to their head. We also killed a big mature redhead drake that day and he was considerably bigger than the blackheads. I think the white on the wings and the black on the nail of the bill along with general size is the best way to tell.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby jimmyscott » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:42 am

So, what do you guys think this one is? I sent him to Birdman Studios.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1359960124.882617.jpg
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby tmclaimerFL » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:48 am

jimmyscott wrote:So, what do you guys think this one is? I sent him to Birdman Studios.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1359960124.882617.jpg

Is that the only picture you have? Hard to distinguish by not seeing wing

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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby WisconsinWaterfowler » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:51 am

All the ways to positively identify the two from each other are being masked by the way you took the picture. However, I would undoubtedly guess lesser. The shape of its body looks too small to be a greater. A quick snapshot of the wing would give you the proof you needed.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby Shade » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:46 pm

jimmyscott wrote:So, what do you guys think this one is?


A Toad!
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby LeakyBoot » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:55 pm

jimmyscott wrote:So, what do you guys think this one is? I sent him to Birdman Studios.


Looks like a Lesser, notice the bump on the back of his head.
The Greater has a more rounded head without the bump.

Lesser Scaup
Adult Description
•Medium-sized diving duck.
•Slight bump or peak on back of head.
•Bill bluish with small black tip.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby jimmyscott » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:23 am

Thanks y'all! That's really the best picture I have of him. I'll get him back from the taxi in ten months or so. If I don't get an answer from the taxi, then I'll post pictures then.
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Re: Lesser & Greater difference

Postby hydrilla » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:37 pm

I am 99.9% sure that is a lesser, judging by the body and the purple on the head. I have killed quite a few in Arkansas and have never killed a greater out there. All of the greeters I have killed have been on the coast, or on a large body of water with a couple of hundred miles of the coast.
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