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Steller's Eider

Silhouette DucksDucks
Steller's EiderPolysticta stelleri
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

A little-known but spectacular seaduck of the High Arctic, the Steller’s Eider is smaller and less oceangoing than the three other eider species. Males are rich orange-buff below with bold black-and-white patterns on the head and wings. For much of the year Steller's Eiders forage rather like a dabbling duck on worms, snails, crustaceans, seeds, and insect larvae—the heavy, broad bill is a hint to this foraging style. Outside the breeding season, Steller’s travel and feed in flocks, often diving synchronously when foraging, a stunning sight.

More ID Info
image of range map for Steller's Eider
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Seeing Steller’s Eiders involves visiting the Arctic, to places such as the village of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, where this is the most common nesting duck. Small numbers also pass St. Lawrence Island, and can usually be seen from the beach at Gambell in spring. Although they are numerous in winter a little farther south, along the Alaskan Peninsula and in the Aleutian Islands, these places are more difficult to reach.

Other Names

  • Éider Menor (Spanish)
  • Eider de Steller (French)
  • Cool Facts