King Eider

photo by Phil Swanson

Somateria spectabilis
L 22″(56 cm).

Song or calls:
Usually quiet. Males, various coos. Females, loud hollow “gog a-gog_gog.”

Description: White head, neck, and breast. Black back. Bill has orange swelling at base of upper mandible, pale green below eye, and gray cap. Female is brown, with V-shaped markings on side. First winter male has a brown head.

Habitat: Breeds on arctic tundra. Winters on both coasts.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental in fall. Was photographed at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in 1985.

Field Notes: Full adult plumage is not attained until the fourth winter.

Fun Facts: King Eiders can dive up to 150 feet underwater.

King Eider - photo by Phil Swanson King Eider - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)