Steller's Eider

Polysticta stelleri




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive buff

Number of Eggs:

5 - 10

Incubation Days:

26 - 27

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with plant material and down.





Steller's Eider: Small eider with black back and collar, white sides, and buff-brown underparts with a small but distinct black spot on side. Head is white with a dark tuft, black eye patch, and black chin. Wings are white with black primaries and a white-bordered blue speculum. Bill, legs, and feet are blue-gray. Female has dark brown body, darker head, blue speculum bordered with white, and pale eye-ring. Juvenile resembles female but is much paler and grayer. 1st winter male is similar to juvenile but is darker and shows fine barring on breast and dark chin. Eclipse male resembles female.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Steller's Eider: Five to ten olive buff eggs are laid in a deep depression on tundra lined with plant material and down. Nest is built near water by the female. Incubation is carried out by the female, time is undetermined.

Foraging and Feeding

Steller's Eider: Feeds on mussels in marine waters during the winter and insects in freshwater ponds during the breeding season; forages by diving from the surface.


Steller's Eider: Generally silent, makes low crooning notes when breeding.

Similar Species

Steller's Eider: Male Smew has all-white underparts.


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

The upper front part of a bird.
The area of the face just below the bill.
Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
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