Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries | educating since 1998

New Zealand scaup

Aythya novaeseelandiae

Nieuw-Zeelandse topper / Neuseeland-Tauchente / Fuligule nyroca de Nouvelle-Zélande


The New Zealand scaup is a diving duck species of the genus Aythya. It is endemic to New Zealand. In Maori commonly known as papango, also matapouri, titiporangi and raipo. As they are diving ducks, they may stay down for twenty to thirty seconds and go down three metres to look for aquatic plants, small fish, water snails, mussels and insects.  Unlike other members of this genus this scaup is not migratory, although it does move to open water from high country lakes if they become frozen in winter.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).


The population is estimated to number 5,000-10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 3,300-6,700 mature individuals and increasing.



Above: adult male New Zealand scaup



Above: adult male New Zealand scaup



Above: juvenile New Zealand scaups



Above: New Zealand scaup ducklings



Above: close-up of New Zealand scaup duckling



Above: adult pair of New Zealand scaups, female in front



Above: adult female New Zealand scaup with ducklings



Above: New Zealand scaup duckling



Above: adult female New Zealand scaup with ducklings



Above: adult female New Zealand scaup with ducklings



Scaups and closest related diving ducks (genus Aythya): (1) greater scaup, (2) lesser scaup, (3) ring-necked duck, (4) tufted duck and (5) New-Zealand scaup. Click image to enlarge. 

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