New Zealend Scaup (Aythya Novaeseelandiae) are the only Southern Hemisphere Scaup and the sole freshwater Diving Duck of New Zealand. They are the darkest of Diving Ducks. Their black heads, necks and upperparts are glossed with a purple and green iridescence that is strongest on the head. Partial to large, open, upland lakes, dams and reservoirs up to 3,300 feet, the Scaup regularly frequent waters near human settlements. Commonly dozing some distance offshore over deep, clear water, they are most active in evenings, tending to loaf during the day on the water or adjacent shores, or on partially submerged logs. While not inclined to fly, their flight is powerful on rapid wingbeats, but they generally fly low over the water and for no great distance. Skilled divers that normally feed nocturnally, they easily dive to ten feet to probe the bottom substrate. Fall and winter flocks seldom exceed 50 birds. New Zealend Scaup (Aythya Novaeseelandiae) breed in solitude or in loose groups, where nests may be quite close together, at times only several feet apart. Breeding begins in October and continues through February. Extensively lined with down, their cup-like nests may be partially enclosed above, and some feature tunnel to aerial predators. They occasionally dump eggs into the nests of other species. Males floating quietly near the shoreline in summer often betray the presence of incubating mates, but drakes do not accompany females with broods. Disturbed incubating females can be reluctant to flush, and stab viciously at intruders when touched, especially if eggs are nearhatching. Should raptors swoop down, females emit alarm calls that prompt ducklings to dive, and overly defensive mothers have been reported to fly to confront hawks. Broods may mix short periods, continually forming and breaking up. Even so, females remain close to their own progeny, and there is no indication of permanent amalgamation.