Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Spectacled eider

Somateria fischeri

Brileider / Plüschkopf eider / Eider à lunettes

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2009).


This species breeds along the coasts of north-east Siberia, Russia and east from the Leni Delta to north Alaska, USA. Its wintering grounds have only recently been discovered in an otherwise unbroken sea of ice halfway between St Lawrence and St Matthew Islands in the Bering sea (Balogh 1996, Petersen 1996).


This species breeds on small lakes, pools, bogs and streams of the tundra. It mainly feeds on molluscs but will also take crustaceans, with a more varied diet in summer including insects, arachnids, berries and seeds. It feeds by diving, and will pluck or dabble on the surface. Breeding begins in May or June in single pairs or loose groups (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


In 2000 the US Fish and Wildlife Service designated 62,386 km² of critical coastal habitat for the conservation of this species (Anon. 2001a).


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult birds in breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult birds in breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male breeding plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male eclipse plumage


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult male eclipse plumage
(background: Red-breasted geese, Branta ruficollis


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult female


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Above: Spectacled eider, adult female

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