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Spectacled Eider
Spectacled Eider
(Somateria fischeri)
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Grassy margin of tundra ponds, lakes, deltas, and tidal inlets. Pelagic (out at sea) in the Bering Sea during the winter. Has the smallest breeding range of the Eiders-coastlines of the Bering Sea, eastern Siberia and northern Alaska.  

Foxes, Jaegers, Gulls, Ravens, Eagles

Mollusks especially clams, aquatic insects, seeds, and vegetative parts of aquatic plants.

Length 15”, Wingspan 36”

Life Span
Up to 15 years

Sexually mature at 2-3 years old. The female begins nesting on the coastal tundra as soon as it is partly snow-free and lays a clutch of about 5 - 6 olive-green eggs.  Nest usually well concealed close to a pond, made of vegetation and lined with down or moss. The incubation period is 24 days. At around 50 days old, the ducklings are ready to fledge and leave the breeding grounds. 

Seasonal Change
Adult male breeding plumage: black chest, white back, and pale green head with a long, sloping forehead and white spectacle‑like patches around the eyes

Adult male non-breeding plumage: entirely mottled dark brown.
Females and juveniles: mottled brown year‑round with pale brown eye patches.

The males’ calls are so soft that they are essentially inaudible to human ears beyond around 10 feet. The males stay with their mates 1-2 weeks after incubation begins.

Similar Species
The adult male is not likely to be confused with any other duck. The dark female is similar to other female eiders but note the patch around the eye and the more extensive feathering on the bill.

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