Steller's Eider

Polysticta stelleri

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

STEI

Code 6

POLSTE

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable

The Steller’s Eider is a medium-sized sea duck which prefers areas in the Arctic region. This bird breeds on the coastlines of eastern Siberia and Alaska. Nests are built on the tundra very close to the ocean. During winter months, the Steller’s Eider will migrate short distances to the Bering Sea, northern Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. This bird will also form large flocks during migration and wintering. This is the smallest eider, and typically dives for food such as crustaceans, mollusks and mussels in the ocean. Many believe the Steller’s Eider has interbred with the Common Eider in the wild. The conservation rating of this species is Vulnerable.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

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PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

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SUMMARY

Overview

Steller's Eider: Small eider with black back and collar, white sides, buff-brown underparts with small but distinct black spot on side. White head has a dark tuft, black eye patch and chin. Wings are white with black primaries and a white-bordered blue speculum. Blue-gray bill, legs and feet.

 

Range and Habitat

Steller's Eider: This species has a very limited range; it breeds along the extreme northern and western coasts of Alaska. They spend winters along southern coast of Alaska and along the Aleutian archipelago. These birds frequent arctic coastal areas and they nest in tundra habitats near small ponds.

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Steller's Eider SONGS AND CALLS

Steller's Eider A1

Display calls from two males and two females.

Steller's Eider A2

Raspy calls from a female.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

Generally silent

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Steller's Eider was first described in 1769 by Peter Simon Pallas, a German zoologist and botanist who worked in Russia. It is named after the German naturalist Georg Steller.
  • It spends the winter in large flocks, which dive synchronously and may create a spray as they dive and then surface in unison.
  • This is the smallest eider. It is found primarily close to shore in winter, unlike other eider species.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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BACKYARD BIRDING

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BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
CollarX
Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
SpeculumX
The brightly colored area on the wing (secondaries of the wing) on several duck species.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X