A Spectacled Eider is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Spectacled Eiders. We have also put together a list of fun Spectacled Eider t-shirts, Spectacled Eider bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Spectacled Eiders
These ducks are uncommon and poorly known. They are localized in the high Arctic and thrive on and around the Bering Sea and they prefer areas where humans cannot access easily and often found in small flocks. They can be found in boggy tundra during summer and around ice packs in other seasons. Some of their distinctive features include:
Description and Identification
Spectacled Eiders display sexual dimorphism as the males are larger than the females. The
average length for males is 20.8 inches, and for females, it is 19.6 inches. These ducks have
earned their unique name because of the presence of a large round patch of feathers around their
eyes that are different in color and texture from the rest of their plumage. Due to these
“spectacles”, these ducks are easily identifiable. Common Eiders and King Eiders are ducks that
look somewhat similar to Spectacled Eiders. Male Spectacled Eiders have a predominantly black
body, white backs, and white spectacles around their pale green heads. Almost the entire plumage
of the females is rich brown in color with paler brown spectacles around their eyes. Males have
bright orange bills, and the females have blue-gray bills. Younglings look similar to females.
Spectacled Eiders are not a very vocal species of ducks, hence their calls can rarely be heard.
Females have been observed making two calls — the first is a Guttural Croak they utter to alarm
their family of potential predators, and the second is a clucking call used to summon their broods or
greet their mates.
Spectacled Eider Color Pattern
Spectacled eiders have black underparts, sides, breasts,s and white upperparts. They have orange bills, black pointed tails, and yellow-green heads. Their wings are white on the upper mandible.
Spectacled Eider Size
These medium-sized sea ducks are the smallest of the eiders.
The relative size of both sexes
- Length range: 20-23 in (51-58 cm)
- Weight: 51.2 oz (1451 g)
- Wingspan range: 35-36 in (89-91 cm)
Spectacled Eider Behavior
For the better part of the year, they forage by diving or swimming underwater. Their diving range is deeper compared to other diving ducks. During summer they forage by walking on land or dabbling in shallow water. Pairs are made in winter before the migration starts. The males perform displays by shaking the head in quick succession, stretching their neck upwards then whisking their head back quickly.
Spectacled Eider Food
Spectacled Eiders are omnivores that mostly consume razor clams. These ducks are assumed to
be diving birds considering the habitats they inhabit. These ducks use techniques like surface
feeding and dabbling to attain their food. Unless their prey is too big in size, Spectacled Eiders
never bring their prey to land; instead, they consume their prey in the water itself. Spectacled Eiders
include a variety of insects, mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic plants into their diet — some of
these are flies, midges, caddisflies, crane flies, beetles, snails, buttercup seeds, shrimp, sedges,
They mostly feed on mollusks. They feed heavily on mollusks at sea. During summer when on the tundra, they feed mainly on aquatic insects, plant material such as berries, grasses, and sedges. They also feed on crustaceans.
Spectacled Eider Habitat
Spectacled Eiders breed in deltas, lakes, and shores prevalent along the coast of Alaska. These
ducks like to breed in shallow waterbodies in lowland tundra that are closely situated to saltwater
waterbodies. Spectacled Eiders also need grassy land around their pond for nesting.
They primarily thrive on oceans and tundra. During the breeding season, they frequent low-laying tundra comprising of lakes and ponds. During other seasons they can be found on oceans either near the coastline or far offshore__ along edges of floating ice. Their nest sites are usually near the edges of tundra ponds.
Range and Migration
Spectacled Eiders are large birds that have only two populations in the world. One of these two
populations are present in the Yukon Delta in Alaska, and the second is residing in easternmost
Russia. Spectacled Eiders winter in the Bering sea. These ducks molt in close proximity to the
Spectacled Eider Lifecycle
The females lay 3-6 eggs and incubate them for 24 days. The hatchlings leave the nest shortly after hatching and are guided to water by the female. They fledge after 53 days or less.
Spectacled Eider Nesting
Spectacled Eiders are ducks that are assumed to be seasonally monogamous, but there isn’t
enough evidence to prove so. These birds arrive at the breeding grounds with already formed pairs
of bonds. These pairs might be formed during winter or during the process of migration. Pairs formed
usually break up in June when male Spectacled Eiders leave. These birds might pair with the same
mates in successive breeding seasons. Female Spectacled Eiders initiate breeding by performing
inciting vocalizations and movements — males accept by displaying their blackened chests to the
females. Female Spectacled Eiders build nests by digging holes into the ground in grassy flats.
The nests are constructed on the day the first egg is hatched, and it is lined with grass and a large
quantity of down. Females lay an average of 4.5 eggs annually which need to be incubated for 24
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Spectacled Eiders
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Spectacled Eiders are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Spectacled Eider T-shirts
If you love the Spectacled Eider you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Spectacled Eider Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Spectacled Eider is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Spectacled Eider Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Spectacled Eider. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Spectacled Eiders
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Spectacled Eiders
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.