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Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eiders nest along the western coast of Alaska. They are seldom seen elsewhere in the U.S. or Canada.

Males and females very different in appearance, but the plumages of both sexes are distinctive.

All of the images by Alan Wilson were taken in June in Barrow, Alaska.   All images are © by the photographer.

Spectacled Eider

Pair of Spectacled Eiders.  Photograph © Whitehouse-USFWS

Male Spectacled Eider

Males are colorful and distinctive.  The body coloration is similar to the Long-tailed Duck.  Orange bill, distinctive brown and white face markings with shaggy greenish feathering on the back of the head.  Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Female Spectacled Eider

Females present a barred, brown appearance.  The back may show hints of rust.  Dark bill, the face has a lighter area around the eye, reminiscent of the similar area on the male.  Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Male Spectacled Eider from the side

Male at rest shows white back contrasting with the dark chest, flanks and tail.  Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Spectacled Eider on take off

Eiders are heavy ducks with the feet located well back on the body, a running start helps them get airborne.  Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Spectacled Eider on take off

Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Male Spectacled Eider from back

Photograph © USFWS

Spectacled Eider male in flight

Wing linings can present a silvery look.  Photograph © Alan Wilson.

Male Spectacled Eider in flight

Photograph © USFWS


About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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