New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae)

The New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) commonly known as a Black Teal, is a diving duck species of the genus Aythya. It is endemic to New Zealand. In Maori commonly known as papango, also matapouri, titiporangi, raipo.

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae)

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) or Black Teal


Overall dark brown/black colors. The male has a striking yellow eye and a dark colored (greenish) head. The female is similar to the male, but without the yellow eye and has a white face patch during breeding season. A white wing bar can be seen in both sexes when in flight.


They are a diving duck and 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.

It is sometimes seen with the Australian Coot (Fulica atra); it is thought that the Scaup takes advantage of the food stirred up by the Coots as they fossick for shrimps.

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) or Black Teal

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) or Black Teal


Found throughout both North and South islands of New Zealand in deep freshwater lakes and ponds. 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.

Life cycle

They nest from October to March. They lay five to eight cream/white eggs in a nest close to water, often under banks or thick cover. The nest is usually lined with grass and down. The eggs are incubated for four weeks by the female. The newly hatched duckling take to diving for food on their first outing.

Alternate Name: Black Teal

Relevant Resources

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) commonly known as a Black teal
Juvenile New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) or Black Teal

Black Teal

Diet / Feeding:

Ducks generally feed on larvae and pupae often found under rocks, as well as aquatic animals, plant material, seeds, small fish, snails and crabs.

Feeding Ducks …

We all enjoy ducks and many of us offer them food to encourage them to come over and stay around – and it works! Who doesn’t like an easy meal!

However, the foods that we traditionally feed them at local ponds are utterly unsuitable for them and are likely to cause health problems down the road. Also, there may be local laws against feeding this species of bird – so it’s best to check on that rather than facing consequences at a later stage.

Please note that feeding ducks and geese makes them dependent on humans for food, which can result in starvation and possibly death when those feedings stop. If you decide to feed them, please limit the quantity to make sure that they maintain their natural ability to forage for food themselves – providing, of course, that natural food sources are available.

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