King Eider

General description.

The "King Eider" is a uniquely and ornately plumaged sea duck. He emerges from the artist's palate with a periwinkle crown and nape, pale green cheeks and red bill. His back is black and breast, pure white. These are deep diving ducks, and have been caught in nets as far as 150 feet below the surface of the water.

Female appearance.

The female "King Eider" resembles the "Common Eider", but her bill is shorter and does not extend as far back toward the eye. She lacks the distinctive sloping profile.

Breeding habits.

These ducks breed in the freshwater ponds and lakes in Alaska and the Arctic Islands of Canada. Because their breeding grounds are so remote, their down is not collected as extensively as that of the "Common Eider".

Calls or song.

While sitting on the water, the most common call of the male eider is a soft, dovelike cooing, described as "urrr-urrr-urrr", how-it-who-who, croo-croo-croooo, gug-gug-gugguggug-groooooooooo" The female makes a croak and grunt.

Population and distribution.

Although the world population of the "King Eider" is large, these ducks are rarely seen in the U.S. They winter along the Coasts south to southern Alaska and from Labrador to New Jersey.

Nesting habits.

The "King Eider" makes a down-lined depression, on rocky tundra, some distance from the edge of the water. There the female lays 4-7 olive eggs.

Similar birds:

Common Eider Photo Common Eider
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