King Eider

The King Eider is one of the iconic species in the Pribilof Islands as it served as the namesake for the old hotel. This species is an abundant wintering bird, and is very common through the end of May. From June through mid August there are usually a few lingering flocks that spend the summer around the Pribilofs shores. Good places to observe these over-summering flocks include Southwest Point, Marunich and around the Town Harbor. By mid-August, the southbound flocks begin to filter through and numbers increase quickly thereafter. Occasionally, especially early in spring one or two Common Eiders may be found with diligent searching amongst the throngs of lounging King Eiders. It is a good idea to carefully study the female King Eiders, and learn their characteristic bill and head shape so that the longer billed and flatter headed female Common Eiders will stand out. Another feature worth remembering is that King Eider females show a serried of V-shaped markings down their flanks, while Common Eider females show an evenly barred flank.