Steller’s Eider

Scientific Name: Polysticta stelleri

Steller’s Eider was named for the 18th-century German zoologist and explorer George W. Steller.  This is the smallest and swiftest-flying of the eiders.  Steller’s Eider has a varied diet, including crowberries- a common berry of the Arctic tundra.  The male, in a manner somewhat unusual for ducks, stays with the hen until incubation has begun.

Males are largely black and white above and pale tan below with a black eye patch, a green-and-black nape crest, and a black collar.  Females are mottled dark brown.  Both sexes have a blue speculem bordered with white.

Breeds on the eastern Arctic coast of Alaska and south to St. Lawrence Island and the Yukon-Kuskokwim deltas; winters along the southwestern Alaskan coast and the Aleutian Islands, and casually south to the northern California coast.

(reference: National Audubon Society Pocket Guide)

 

Pacific Flyway

Alaska Trophy Adventures, Capt Charlie Summerville