The smallest of the eiders,
this duck is only 17 to 18 inches long. It is
characterized by a small, thick-based, and
slightly drooping bill, steep forehead and nape,
and a long, pointed tail held above the water.
The male is only slightly larger than the female.
Adult females are dark brown in
color, have pale rings around the eyes, and are
marked by white wing linings easily visible in
flight. Non-breeding males look much like the
females, but with white upper wing coverts and
more pronounced eye rings.
Distribution and Habitat
Steller's eiders breed in
freshwater tundra ponds on the Arctic coasts of
Alaska and Russia. They spend the rest of the
year in shallow marine waters around the Aleutian
Islands, and occasionally just south of the
Arctic Circle in Europe.
The nest is built on the ground
in open tundra, and constucted of grass, weeds,
lichens, and down. A typical clutch consists of
five to eight olive-buff to brownish-orange eggs.
Steller's eiders feed on a
variety of aquatic invertebrates, including
insects and larvae, small crustaceans, clams, and
mussels. Food is taken by underwater diving, as
well as by tipping.
Habits and Behaviors
These ducks spend the winter in
large flocks. Flocks often dive synchronously and
then surface in unison.
genus & species Polysticta stelleri
All About Birds http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Stellers_Eider/id
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