Harlequin Duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Harlequin Duck
Harliquin Duck Warning
The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Harlequin (French Arlequin, Italian Arlecchino), a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. The species name comes from the Latin word "histrio", "actor". In North America it is also known as lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak.[19}

Adult breeding males have a colorful and complex plumage pattern. The head and neck are dark slate blue with a large white crescent marking in front of the eye, a small round dot behind the eye, and a larger oval spot down the side of the neck. A black crown stripe runs over the top of the head, with chestnut patches on either side. A black-bordered white collar separates the head from the breast. The body is largely a lighter slate blue with chestnut sides. A black-bordered white bar divides the breast vertically from the sides. The tail is black, long and pointed. The speculum is metallic blue. The inner secondary feathers are white and form white markings over the back when folded. The bill is blue-grey and the eye is reddish. Adult females are less colourful, with brownish-grey plumage with three white patches on the head: a round spot behind the eye, a larger patch from the eye to the bill and a small spot above the eye.[19]

​​It ranges from 15–17 in (380–430 mm) in length and weighs 600 g (1.3 lb), with a wingspan of 26 in (660 mm).
The Harlequin's wing is 188–202 mm (7.4–8.0 in) in lenght, tail is 77–101.5 mm (3.03–4.00 in). [19]
​Four populations of the Harlequin Duck are found world-wide, two of them in Canada: the western population along the Pacific Coast, and the eastern population along the Atlantic Coast. Harlequin Ducks of the eastern population mostly breed throughout much of Labrador, along eastern Hudson Bay, and the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland. There are also known breeding populations along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Gaspé Peninsula, northern New Brunswick, and southeastern Baffin Island in Nunavut. Satellite telemetry and banding information have indicated that the migration patterns of Harlequin Ducks are variable. Many of them spend the winter on the east and south coasts of Newfoundland, in southeastern Nova Scotia, in southern New Brunswick, in Maine, and at a few locations south of Cape Cod. Small groups may spend the winter along the Gaspé Peninsula and Anticosti Island of Québec, and a few individuals may spend the winter in Prince Edward Island. Approximately half the wintering population can be found in New England. The eastern North American wintering population has declined from historical estimates of 5000 - 10,000 to fewer than 1500 individuals. Numbers appear to be increasing in North America over the last ten years to an estimated 3700 individuals, but still less than 2000 Harlequin Ducks spend the winter in eastern Canada. [45]
Harlequin Ducks spend most of the year in coastal marine environments, but they move inland each spring to breed along fast-flowing turbulent rivers. During the winter, the Harlequin Duck are often associated with offshore islands, headlands, and rocky coastline where the surf breaks against rocks and ice buildup is minimal. These ducks feed close to rocky shorelines or rock skerries.[45]
​Harlequin Ducks first breed at 2 or 3 years of age. Their nests are usually built on the ground along the banks of fast-flowing streams. Surprisingly, the first two active Harlequin Duck nests ever reported in eastern North America were both on cliff ledges, one about 20 m above the water. The clutches of 3 to 8 creamy eggs are incubated by the female, who later leads the hatched young to secluded streams to feed. Fluctuations in food and water levels can affect breeding success. The reproductive rate of Harlequin Ducks is low, which makes it more difficult for this duck to recover from a decline. [45]

Ruddy Duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Ruddy Duck
The ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a duck from North America and the Andes Mountains of South America, one of the stiff-tailed ducks.
The Ruddy Duck is 340–430 mm (13.5–17 in) long with a 470 mm (18.5 in) and weighs 560 g (1.23 lb). These are small, compact ducks with stout, scoop-shaped bills, and long, stiff tails they often hold cocked upward. They have slightly peaked heads and fairly short, thick necks.
Male Ruddy Ducks have blackish caps that contrast with bright white cheeks. In summer, they have rich chestnut bodies with bright blue bills. In winter, they are dull gray-brown above and paler below with dull gray bills. Females and first-year males are brownish, somewhat like winter males but with a blurry stripe across the pale cheek patch. In flight, Ruddy Ducks show solidly dark tops of the wings.
Their breeding habitat is marshy lakes and ponds. They nest in dense marsh vegetation near water. The female builds the nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical brood contains 5 to 15 ducklings. Pairs form each year.
They are migratory and winter in coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds.
These birds dive and swim underwater. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans.  [37]

Smew (Diving and Sea Duck)

Smew Duck


​​The smew (Mergellus albellus) is a species of duck, and is the only living member of the genus Mergellus. This genus is closely related to Mergus and is sometimes included in it, though it might be closer to the goldeneyes (Bucephala). The smew has interbred with the common goldeneye (B. clangula) [33]

The drake smew, with its 'cracked ice' and 'panda' appearance, is unmistakable, and looks very black-and-white in flight. The females and immature males are grey birds with chestnut foreheads and crowns, and can be confused at a distance with the ruddy duck; they are often known as "redhead" smew. It has oval white wing-patches in flight. The smew's bill has a hooked tip and serrated edges, which help it catch fish when it dives for them.
The smew is 38–44 cm (15–17 in) long. [33]
This species breeds in the northern taiga of Europe and Asia. It needs trees for breeding. The smew lives on fish-rich lakes and slow rivers. As a migrant, it leaves its breeding areas and winters on sheltered coasts or inland lakes of the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, northern Germany and the Low Countries, with a small number reaching Great Britain (for example, at Dungeness), mostly at regular sites. Vagrants have been recorded in North America. On lakes it prefers areas around the edges, often under small trees. The smew breeds in May and lays 6–9 cream-colored eggs. It nests in tree holes, such as old woodpeckernests. It is a shy bird and flushes easily when disturbed.[33]

Barrow's Goldeneye (Diving and Sea Duck)

Barrows Goldeneye Duck
Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This bird was named after Sir John Barrow. [32]

Adults are similar in appearance to the common goldeneye. Adult males have a dark head with a purplish gloss and a white crescent at the front of the face. Adult females have a mostly yellow bill. The male Barrow's goldeneye differs from the male common goldeneye in the fact that the common goldeneye has a round white patches on the face, less black on the back of the bird, and a larger bill. For the females, the common goldeneye has a less rounded head, and a bill in which only the tip is yellow.  [32]

​Their breeding habitat consists of wooded lakes and ponds primarily in northwestern North America, but also in scattered locations in eastern Canada andIceland. Females return to the same breeding sites year after year and also tend to use the same nesting sites. The males stay with their mate through the winter and defend their territory during the breeding season, then leave for the molting site. Mating pairs often stay intact even though the male and female are apart for long periods of time over the summer during molting times. The pair then reunites at wintering areas. [32]

They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters. Barrow's goldeneye, along with many other species of sea ducks, rely on urbanized, coastal estuaries as important places on their migration patterns. These estuaries provide excellent wintering and stopping places during the ducks' migration. It is an extremely rare vagrant to western Europe and to southern North America. [32]

These diving birds forage underwater. They eat aquatic insects, crustaceans and pond vegetation. The main staples of the bird's diet are Gammarus oceanicus and Calliopus laeviusculus, which are both marine crustaceans. A large part of their diet consists of mussels and gastropods.[32]

The Barrow's goldeneye is considered an arboreal bird species because much of its nesting is done in cavities found in mature trees. The birds will also nest in burrows or protected sites on the ground. Barrow's goldeneyes tend not to share habitat with the much more numerous common goldeneye. Barrow's goldeneye tend to be territorial towards other birds venturing into their domain. This is especially true among the drakes. Confrontations may occur in the form of fighting. Drakes often do a form of territorial display along the boundaries of their territory. This is both true on land and in the water. These territorial displays average about 6 minutes in length and often trigger other males to perform their own show. [32]

Common Goldeneye (Diving and Sea Duck)

Common Goldeneye Duck
The common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. Their closest relative is the similar Barrow's goldeneye. [31]

Adult males ranges from 45–52 cm (18–20 in) and from 888 to 1,400 g (1.958 to 3.086 lb), while females range from 40–50 cm (16–20 in) and from 500 to 1,182 g (1.102 to 2.606 lb). The species is named for its golden-yellow eye. Adult males have a dark head with a greenish gloss and a circular white patch below the eye, a dark back and a white neck and belly. Adult females have a brown head and a mostly grey body. Their legs and feet are orange-yellow. [31

Their breeding habitat is the taiga. They are found in the lakes and rivers of boreal forests across Canada and the northern United States, Scandinavia and northern Russia. They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters at more temperate latitudes. Naturally, they nest in cavities in large trees. They will readily use
nestboxes, and this has enabled a healthy breeding population to establish in Scotland where they are increasing and slowly spreading with the help of nestboxes. They are usually quite common in winter around lakes of Britain and some are being encouraged to nest in nestboxes which are put up to try to have them there all year round. Occasionally recorded as a vagrant in various parts of the Indian Subcontinent. [31]
Often the natural tree cavities are made by broken limbs, unless they are made by pileated woodpeckers or black woodpeckers, the only tree-cavity-making animals who make a cavity large enough to normally accommodate a goldeneye. Average egg size is a breadth of 43.3 mm (1.70 in), a length of 59.3 mm (2.33 in) and a weight of 64 g (2.3 oz). The incubation period ranges from 28 to 32 days. The female does all the incubating and is abandoned by the male about 1 to 2 weeks into incubation. The young remain in the nest for about 24–36 hours. Brood parasitism is quite common both with other common goldeneyes as well as with other duck species, and even tree swallow and European starling eggs have been found mixed with goldeneye eggs. The broods commonly start to mix with other females' broods as they become more independent. Goldeneye young have been known to be competitively killed by other goldeneye mothers, common loons and red-necked grebes. The young are capable of flight at 55–65 days of age. [31]

Bufflehead (Diving and Sea Duck)

Bufflehead Duck
The bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small American sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. [30]

The Bufflehead ranges from 32–40 cm (13–16 in) long and 270–550 g (9.5–19.4 oz), with the drakes larger than the females. Averaging 35.5 cm (14.0 in) and 370 g (13 oz), it rivals the green-winged teal as the smallest American duck. [30]
Adult males are striking black and white, with iridescent green and purple heads with a large white patch behind the eye. Females are grey-toned with a smaller white patch behind the eye and a light underside. [30]

​​They are migratory and most of them winter in protected coastal waters, or open inland waters, on the east and west coasts of North America and the southern United States. The Bufflehead is an extremely rare vagrant to
western Europe. Their breeding habitat is wooded lakes and ponds in Alaska and Canada, almost entirely included in the boreal forest or taiga habitat. [30]

​​Buffleheads have evolved their small size in order to fit the nesting cavity of their "metabiotic" host, a woodpecker, the northern flicker. Due to their small size, they are highly active, undertaking dives almost continuously while sustained by their high metabolism. They do not tend to collect in large flocks; groups are usually limited to small numbers. One duck will serve as a sentry, watching for predators as the others in the group dive in search of food. Buffleheads are amongst the last waterfowl to leave their breeding grounds and one of the world's most punctual migrants, arriving on their wintering grounds within a narrow margin of time. [30]

Buffleheads are monogamous, and the females return to the same breeding site, year after year. They nest in cavities in trees, primarily aspens or poplars, using mostly old flicker nests, close (usually < 25 m (82 ft)) to water. Nest competitors include mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides), tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), and European starling. There was one recorded instance of a female Barrow's goldeneye killing a bufflehead adult female and her brood. Smaller cavities are preferred because of less competition with the larger goldeneyes. Females may be killed on the nest by mammals, such as weasels (Mustela spp.) or mink (Mustela vison), and by goldeneyes over nest competition. [30]

Average clutch size is 9 (range 6–11), and eggs average 50.5 by 36.3 mm (1.99 by 1.43 in).[5] Incubation averages 30 days, and nest success is high (79% in one study) compared to ground-nesting species like the teal. A day after the last duckling hatches the brood leaps from the nest cavity. The young fledge at 50–55 days of age.[30]

Long-Tailed duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Long-tailed Duck
The long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), once known as oldsquaw, is a medium-sized sea duck. It is the only living member of its genus, Clangula.

Adults have white underparts, though the rest of the plumage goes through a complex moulting process. The male has a long pointed tail (10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) long) and a dark grey bill crossed by a pink band. In winter, the male has a dark cheek patch on a mainly white head and neck, a dark breast and mostly white body. In summer, the male is dark on the head, neck and back with a white cheek patch. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail. In winter, the female's head and neck are white with a dark crown. In summer, the head is dark. Juveniles resemble adult females in autumn plumage, though with a lighter, less distinct cheek patch.

Their breeding habitat is in tundra pools and marshes, but also along sea coasts and in large mountain lakes in the North Atlantic region, Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe, and Russia. The nest is located on the ground near water; it is built using vegetation and lined with down. They are migratory and winter along the eastern and western coasts of North America, on the Great Lakes, coastal northern Europe and Asia, with stragglers to the Black Sea. The most important wintering area is the Baltic Sea, where a total of about 4.5 million gather.

The long-tailed duck is gregarious, forming large flocks in winter and during migration. They feed by diving for mollusks, crustaceans and some small fish. Although they usually feed close to the surface, they are capable of diving to depths of 60 m (200 ft). [46]


Black Scoter (Sea Duck)


Duck black scoter
The black scoter or American scoter (Melanitta americana) is a large sea duck, 43 to 49 cm (17 to 19 in) in length. Together with the common scoter M. nigra, it forms the subgenus Oidemia; the two are sometimes considered conspecific, the black scoter then being referred to as M. nigra americana. Its French name, used in parts of its Canadian range, is macreuse noire (also meaning "black scoter"). [29]

The adult female averages about 980 g (2.16 lb) and 45 cm (18 in) in length, while the adult male is on average 1,100 g (2.4 lb) and 49 cm (19 in) in length. It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. The male is all black with a very bulbous bill which is mostly yellow. The female is a brown bird with pale cheeks, very similar to female common scoter. [29]

This species can be distinguished from other scoters, apart from common scoter, by the lack of white anywhere on the drake, and the more extensive pale areas on the female. [29]

The black scoter breeds in the far north of North America in Labrador and Newfoundland to the southeast Hudson Bay. It also occurs on the Siberian side of the Bering Straits east of the Yana River. It winters farther south in temperate zones, on the coasts of the northern USA and Canada, on the Pacific coast south to the San Francisco Bay region and on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and in Asia as far south as China. [29]

Some birds may over-winter on the Great Lakes. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe; only drakes are safely identifiable out of range, so females are likely to be undetected. [29]

This species dives for crustaceans and molluscs while migrating or wintering on the sea-coasts, and feeds on insects and their larvae, especially caddisflies, fish eggs and, more rarely, vegetation such as duck weed while nesting on freshwater. It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters in winter quarters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together; in the breeding season they are less social. It has been suggested that in coastal waters this species prefers sheltered embayments, and possibly waters that include some mixed depths. [29]

The lined nest is built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. 5–7 eggs are laid. Each eggs weighs from 60–74 g (2.1–2.6 oz), or 8% of the females body weight. The incubation period may range from 27 to 31 days. Females brood their young extensively for about 3 weeks, after which the still flightless young must fend for themselves. [29]

The male performs a diagnostic downward head movement when stretching his wings. [29]


White-Winged Scoter (Sea Duck)

White-Winged Scoter
The white-winged scoter (Melanitta deglandi) is a large sea duck. [28]

The white-winged scoter is the largest of the three North American scoter species. It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. This is the largest species of scoter. Females range from 950–1,950 g (2.09–4.30 lb) and 48–56 cm (19–22 in), averaging 1,180 g (2.60 lb) and 52.3 cm (20.6 in). She is brown with pale head patches. The male ranges from 1,360–2,128 g (2.998–4.691 lb) and from 53–60 cm (21–24 in), averaging 1,380 g (3.04 lb) and 55 cm (22 in). He is all black, except for white around the eye and a white speculum. This scoter's bill has a black base and a large knob. [28]

​​There are a number of differing characteristics of the Eastern Siberian race and the American race from Alaska and Canada to west of the Hudson Bay. Males of the American subspecies have browner flanks, dark yellow coloration of most of the bill and a less tall bill knob, approaching the velvet scoter. The Asian form has a very tall knob at the base of its mostly orange-yellow bill. Females are identical in the field. [28]

​​​There are a number of differing characteristics of the Eastern Siberian race and the American race from Alaska and Canada to west of the Hudson Bay. Males of the American subspecies have browner flanks, dark yellow coloration of most of the bill and a less tall bill knob, approaching the velvet scoter. The Asian form has a very tall knob at the base of its mostly orange-yellow bill. Females are identical in the field. [28]

The white-winged scoter breeds over the far north of Asia east of the Yenisey Basin, and North America. It winters further south in temperate zones, on the Great Lakes, the coasts of the northern USAand the southern coasts of Canada, and Asia as far south as China. It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together. [28] 

The lined nest is built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. 5–11 eggs are laid. The pinkish eggs average 46.9 mm (1.85 in) in breadth, 68.2 mm (2.69 in) in length and 82.4 g (2.91 oz) in weight. The incubation period can range from 25 to 30 days. After about 21 days, neighboring females may start to behave aggressively towards other nesting females, resulting in confusion and mixing of broods. By the time she is done brooding, a female may be tending to as much as 40 offspring due to the mixing from these conflicts. The female will tend to her brood for up to 3 weeks and then abandon them, but the young will usually stay together from another 3 weeks. Flight capacity is thought to be gained at 63 to 77 days of age. [28]

Surf Scoter (Sea Duck)

Surf Scoter
The surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) is a large sea duck, which breeds in Canada and Alaska. It is placed in the subgenus Melanitta, along with the velvet and white-winged scoters, distinct from the subgenus Oidemia, black and common scoters. [27]

It winters farther south in temperate zones, on the coasts of the northern United States. Small numbers regularly winter in western Europe as far south as the British Isles. Some birds may over-winter on the Great Lakes.

It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.
The lined nest is built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. 5–9 eggs are laid. An egg may range from 55–79 g (1.9–2.8 oz) and average 43.9 mm (1.73 in) in breadth and 62.4 mm (2.46 in) in length. Occasional (and likely accidental) brood mixing between different females occurs in areas with high densities of nests. Growth is relatively rapid and the incubation period is about 28 to 30 days. The offspring will fledge independently at about 55 days. [27]

​​The adult female averages about 900 g (2.0 lb) and 44 cm (17 in) in length, while the adult male is on average 1,050 g (2.31 lb) and 48 cm (19 in) in length, making this the smallest species of scoter on average. It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. The male is all black, except for white patches on the nape and forehead. It has a bulbous red, yellow and white bill. The females are brown birds with pale head patches. The wedge-shaped head and lack of white in the wings helps to distinguish female surf scoters from female velvet

scoters.  [27]

Adult scoters of this species dive for crustaceans and molluscs, while the ducklings live off any variety of freshwater invertebrates. [27]

​Common Eider (Sea Duck)

Common Eider

The common eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria mollissima) is a large (50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length) sea-duck that is distributed over the northern coasts of Europe, North America and eastern Siberia. It breeds in Arctic and some northern temperate regions, but winters somewhat farther south in temperate zones, when it can form large flocks on coastal waters. It can fly at speeds up to 113 km/h (70 mph). [26]

The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with the celebrated eiderdown, plucked from the female's breast. This soft and warm lining has long been harvested for filling pillows and quilts, but in more recent years has been largely replaced by down from domestic farm-geese and synthetic alternatives. Although eiderdown pillows or quilts are now a rarity, eiderdown harvesting continues and is sustainable, as it can be done after the ducklings leave the nest with no harm to the birds. [26]

​​The common eider is both the largest of the four eider species and the largest duck found in Europe and in North America (except for the Muscovy duck  which only reaches North America in a wild state in southernmost Texas and south Florida). It measures 50 to 71 cm (20 to 28 in) in length, weighs 0.81 to 3.04 kg (1.8 to 6.7 lb) and spans 80–110 cm (31–43 in) across the wings. The average weight of 22 males in the North Atlantic was 2.21 kg (4.9 lb) while 32 females weighed an average of 1.92 kg (4.2 lb). It is characterized by its bulky shape and large, wedge-shaped bill.  [26]

The male is unmistakable, with its black and white plumage and green nape.The female is a brown bird, but can still be readily distinguished from all ducks, except other eider species, on the basis of size and head shape. The drake's display call is a strange almost human-like "ah-ooo," while the hen utters hoarse quacks. The species is often readily approachable. [26]

Drakes of the European, eastern North American and Asia/western North American races can be distinguished by minor differences in plumage and bill colour. Some authorities place the subspeciesv-nigra as a separate species. [26]

This species dives for crustaceans and molluscs, with mussels being a favoured food. The eider will eat mussels by swallowing them whole; the shells are then crushed in their gizzard and excreted. When eating a crab, the eider will remove all of its claws and legs, and then eat the body in a similar fashion. [26]

It is abundant, with populations of about 1.5–2 million birds in both North America and Europe, and also large but unknown numbers in eastern Siberi. [26]


King Eider (Sea Duck)

King Eider
The king eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria spectabilis) is a large sea duck that breeds along Northern Hemisphere Arctic coasts of northeast Europe, North America and Asia. The birds spend most of the year in coastal marine ecosystems at high latitudes, and migrate to Arctic tundra to breed in June and July. They lay four to seven eggs in a scrape on the ground lined with grass and down. [25]

The king eider is a large sea duck, measuring 50–70 cm (20–28 in) in length with a wingspan of 86–102 cm (34–40 in).[8] Males are, on average, heavier than females, with a mean weight of 1.668 kg (3.68 lb) for males and 1.567 kg (3.45 lb) for females. An individual bird's mass can vary considerably from season to season—from as little as 0.9 kg (2.0 lb) to as much as 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). Like all eiders, the species is sexually dimorphic; the male is slightly larger and, in breeding plumage, much more colourful than the female. The male is unmistakable with its mostly black body, buff-tinged white breast and multicoloured head. The head, nape and neck are a pale bluish grey. The cheek is pale green. The bill, separated rom the face by a thin black line, is red with a white nail and a large, distinctive yellow knob. Some tertials are curved up and form "spurs" along the back. [25]

​​The female (occasionally colloquially referred to as a "queen eider") is a warm brown colour overall, slightly paler on the head and neck. The feathers on her upperparts and flanks are marked with blackish chevrons, while those on her neck and head bear fine black streaks. She has a buffy spot at the base of her bill and a buffy eye ring which extends into a downward curving stripe behind her eye. Her bill is variously described as black or grey, and her legs and feet are greenish-grey. [25]

Juvenile birds are greyish-brown. Late in their first autumn, young males moult into a darker plumage, with white on the breast and rump; it takes them three years to achieve full adult plumage. [25]

The king eider is circumpolar, found throughout the Arctic. It breeds on the Arctic coast of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia, using a variety of tundra habitats. It winters in arctic and subarctic marine areas, most notably in the Bering Sea, the west coast of Greenland, eastern Canada and northern Norway. Wintering birds can form large flocks on suitable coastal waters, with some flocks exceeding 100,000 birds. It also occurs annually off the northeasternUnited States, Scotland and Kamchatka. [25]


Spectacled Eider (Sea Duck)

Spectacled Eider
The spectacled eider (pronounced /ˈaɪ.dər/) (Somateria fischeri) is a large sea duck that breeds on the coasts of Alaska and northeastern Siberia. [24]
The lined nest is built on tundra close to the sea, and 5–9 eggs are laid.

This species dives for crustaceans and molluscs. The winter range is poorly known, but satellite tracking has led to observations of large flocks of the birds about 100 km southwest of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea during March–April. This area has large populations of bivalves in the underlying sediments at depths of about 60 m that the ducks dive to feed on. [24]

The spectacled eider is slightly smaller than the common eider at 52–57 cm in length. The male is unmistakable with its black body, white back, and yellow-green head with the large circular white eye patches which give the species its name. The drake's call is a weak crooning, and the female's a harsh croak. [24]

The female is a rich brown bird, but can still be readily distinguished from all ducks except other eider species on size and structure. The paler goggles are visible with a reasonable view and clinch identification. Immature birds and eclipse adult drakes are similar to the female. [24] 

The spectacled eider is listed in the US as a Federally Threatened species and is unhuntable. [24]


Steller's Eider (Sea Duck)

​​​​Steller's Eider
The Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) is a smallish sea duck that breeds along the Arctic coasts of eastern Siberia and Alaska. [23]

This species is the smallest eider at 45 cm (18 in) long. The male is unmistakable with his white head marked by a thick black eye ring and greenish-black tufts of feathers on the forehead and the back of the head.
Chin, throat and neck are also black, as are the back, tail, and rump. Wings are dark bluish-purple with white edging. When folded, they give a striped appearance across the back. The speculum is metallic blue bordered with white. The breast and flanks are cinnamon-buff marked with a black spot on each side just above the waterline. Legs, feet and bill are dark bluish-grey. [23]

​The female is a dark brown bird, smaller with a more typically duck-shaped head and body than other eider species. [23]



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