This is the smallest of the four eiders and is in a separate genus. It is the same size, roughly, as a Goldeneye and it is a dumpy seaduck. It breeds across the high arctic from the Yenesei in Siberia round to Alaska and winters in the very Northern part of the Pacific.
A few breeding records in Northern Europe have been recorded and these may give rise to regular records in NW Europe. Worms, shellfish and other animal material is eaten under water with the birds mainly diving in shallow seawater. Breeding birds are often found a few kms inland and some feed in freshwater during the breeding season.
The males are easy to identify. They have pale apricot underparts, a mainly white head (with a green spot in front of the eye and green and black band on the nape), a dark back and black and white stipes over the closed wing). Females are much like other ducks - brown - but they have a neat double white wing bar.
The smallest eider in the world.
Length 450 mm Closed wing 210 mm Weight 800 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead