spectabilis [sO muh ter' E uh spek tab' ih
This large, stocky duck weighs
between 3½ and 4½ pounds, and is 19 to 25
Outside of the breeding season
both sexes are similar, but the male has blackish
wings with white patches on the forewings. During
the breeding season, the male is black and white
with a brightly colored head, light blue crown
and nape, greenish face, and bright red-orange
bill with large orange knob outlined with black.
The female is brown with black barring.
Distribution and Habitat
King eiders breed along the
Arctic coasts of Canada, Alaska, and Russia, and
in lesser numbers in northern Scandinavia. They
winter in the Bering Sea and in the North
Atlantic from Labrador to Newfoundland,
occasionally as far south as Virginia; Old World
populations winter in the northeast Pacific and
in the White Sea.
They are most commonly found in
marine environments near coastlines or on open
water shallow enough to allow for foraging at the
The nest is a scrape on the
ground, usually near water, lined with vegetation
and down from the female. Two to seven olive or
olive-buff eggs are laid, and incubated by the
female along for 22 to 24 days.
King eiders forage on sea beds
up to 82 feet deep. They feed on aquatic insect
larvae, crustaceans, and plant matter in the
summer, and on a wide variety of marine animals
in the winter.
Habits and Behaviors
Highly gregarious for most of
the year, king eiders form huge flocks during
spring migration, sometimes exceeding 10,000
genus & species Somateria spectabilis
All About Birds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/King_Eider/id
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