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Spectacled Eider

Silhouette DucksDucks
Spectacled EiderSomateria fischeri
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

Adult male Spectacled Eiders are large ducks with yellow-orange bills and brilliant white “goggles” outlined in black. Females and immatures are an understated brown with pale brown eye patches. These spectacular birds breed on Alaskan and Russian tundra, where they dabble in shallow water for insects and plant seeds. Then they disappear into the middle of the Bering Sea to spend a dark winter floating among gaps in the sea ice, diving deep underwater for clams and other marine invertebrates.

More ID Info
image of range map for Spectacled Eider
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

To see a Spectacled Eider requires traveling to Alaska or Russia. In spring and fall, Alaska (specifically Uqtiagvik, formerly Barrow), can be a reliable place to see them on the tundra just outside of town. In summer, you may see females with young. Nome has an occasional sighting, and nearby St. Lawrence Island is quite reliable, both in spring and fall. Here, the eiders pass by offshore (with King, Common, and Steller’s Eiders), so a spotting scope is necessary in most cases.

Other Names

  • Éider de Anteojos (Spanish)
  • Eider à lunettes (French)
  • Cool Facts

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