Spectacled Eider

Somateria fischeri

Primarily a winter arrival, this species is most often found during mid-winter amongst the large mixed-species flocks of Somateria eiders that congregate around the Pribilofs in some years. This pattern leads to very few sightings of this species in total, though there are a couple records of birds from early May and October when birders have been present, as well as two recent early summer arrivals of young males which remained for much of the season. However, one should not expect to see this species in the Pribilofs without spending long periods of time sea-watching during a December-March visit. Rough estimates by local hunters suggest this species is found at a rate of about 1:5,000-10,000 within King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) flocks in the Pribilof Islands during the winter.

Photo by Doug Gochfeld
Spectacled Eider (right) with King Eider by Barbara Lestenkof