Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Steller's eider

Polysticta stelleri

Steller's eider / Scheckente / Eider de steller

This species is listed as Vulnerable (IUCN, 2010) because it is undergoing a rapid population reduction, particularly in the key Alaskan populations. Further studies are needed to determine the causes of these declines, and whether some populations may have shifted to unsurveyed areas within the range.


Various population estimates include: c.10,000-15,000 wintering individuals in north Norway and the south-east Baltic (based on a count of 4,297 off Kola Peninsula in April 2003 [Krasnov et al. 2004], 2,250 in the south Baltic in 2003 [Zydelis et al. 2006] and c.2,000-4,000 individuals wintering off Norway [unpublished information supplied by Wetlands International Specialist Groups to Wetlands International 2006]); c.100,000-110,000 wintering individuals in the north Pacific (counts in north America declined from 137,904 in 1992 to 77,329 in 2003, to 74,369 in 2011, forming basis of 2003 north American population estimate of 90,000-95,000 individuals [K. Laing in litt. 2005 to Wetlands International 2006]; however, the population has since declined to 74,369 individuals in 2011 [Larned 2012]); c.20,000 migrating individuals through the Kamchatka Peninsula in spring (Gerasimov and Gerasimov 2003) and c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Russia (Brazil 2009).


Conservation Actions Underway
A European action plan was published in 2000, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service successfully proposed the critical habitat designation of 4,528 km2 of coastal habitat for the conservation of this species (Anon. 2001). It is a protected species in both Russia and the USA. Work has begun in Russia to conduct waterfowl population and subsistence harvest surveys (K. Laing in litt. 2004). A captive breeding and research programme (including 50 years of banding data) is underway in Alaska (Alaska SeaLife Center 2004). New protective zones are being proposed around wintering sites on Bearing Island (Y. Artukhin per K. Laing in litt. 2007), including additional protected zones of the Komandorskiy Reserve (Belobrov and Artukhin 2008). CMS Appendix I and II.

 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey breeding and wintering grounds (particularly surrounding the Kola Peninsula, Russia) to determine population size and trends. Determine causes of current declines. Work to mitigate threats such as lead poisoning. Ensure subsistence harvest is sustainable.


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Above: Steller's eiders (breeding plumage)
Background: Spectacled eider, Somateria fischeri (left) and Ross' goose, Chen rossii


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Above: Steller's eiders (breeding plumage)


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Above: Steller's eiders (breeding plumage)


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Above: female Steller's eider (summer)


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Above: male Steller's eider


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Above: a group of Steller's eiders

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