King Eider

– A Majestic Bird of the North

The King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) is one of the most striking and majestic birds found in northern latitudes. Its unique appearance, fascinating behavior, and interesting adaptation to the Arctic environment make it a popular subject for bird lovers and ornithologists.

Basic Description

The King Eider is a large sea duck that measures around 53-70 cm long with a wingspan ranging from 86-102 cm. Male King Eiders have an unmistakable appearance with their vibrant plumage of black, white, gray, and orange-yellow feathers. Their body feathers are primarily black with white patches on their sides while their head has an iridescent green hue with contrasting bright orange beaks. Females are not as colorful as males and have predominantly brownish-gray body feathers.

Where To Find This Bird

King Eiders breed throughout high arctic regions such as Alaska, Canada’s Arctic archipelago including Ellesmere Island, Greenland’s east coast towards Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula. During winter migration season they can be seen along the Atlantic coastlines across Maine to Virginia or throughout Scandinavia.


King Eiders prefer breeding in coastal tundra habitats near shallow waters within small ponds or streams lined by willow shrubs since these environments provide an abundance of food sources like insects larvae during summer months . They mainly winter offshore but may also occasionally show up at harbors over this period .


Their diet includes mollusks , crustaceans , aquatic insects , small fish , algae etc., which they find by both diving underwater or dabbling at the surface level.

Cool Facts

1) The King Eider gets its name from its regal appearance compared to other species in its family.
2) They migrate long distances between breeding grounds in remote Arctic areas and wintering sites further southwards.
3) In courtship displays male King Eiders swim in circles with their heads raised, necks bent and bills pointed to the sky while emitting a low-pitched crooning sound.
4) These birds are well adapted to living in cold temperatures as they have thick feather coverings that keep them warm even in sub-zero temperatures.

In conclusion, the King Eider is an awesome bird species unique for its vibrant appearance and fascinating behavior. It’s always thrilling spotting one of these birds during Arctic expeditions or along coastal waterways where they frequent. With conservation efforts aimed at reducing habitat destruction and pollution levels, it’s possible more people will get to appreciate this majestic creature for years to come.