Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Somateria / Species
< > Somateria fischeri - Spectacled eider (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Fischer’s eider
Blue-eyed duck
Plüschkopfente (German)
Eider à lunettes (French)
Eider de Fischer (French)
Eider de Anteojos (Spanish)
Eidero de Anteojos (Spanish)
Brileider (Dutch)
Glasögonejder (Swedish)
Lampronetta fischer

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
J23.13.w8
B7, B8, B29, B30, B40, B94, B129
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Seaducks are generally winter-hardy and sociable. They are preferably kept on a large area of clean, cold, deep water, at least some of which (preferably half the area) should be more than 60cm and preferably more than1m deep. As with other diving ducks, most species are relatively ungainly on land and ponds should have shallow sloping banks. Some cover along the pond edges will generally be appreciated. Preferred nesting sites vary greatly within this group, from open ground nesting to thick vegetation and tree holes.
  • Diets of grain, pellets fish and seafood may be used, also bread. These ducks generally need a higher-protein diet than most waterfowl species and high-protein pelleted diets specifically designed for seaducks are now available, although supplementation with fish may still be important particularly for breeding.
  • Feeding in troughs containing stones may avoid the development of overgrown bills. Provision of salt water may decrease the incidence of fungal and other infections.
  • Ducklings may be given high-protein starter crumbs and live food, and provided with access to deep water for swimming from an early age.
  • Eiders should be provided with clean, deep, cold water, with ice-free water available in winter, and may be best kept as flocks rather than as individual pairs. They will eat large quantities of fish if it is offered. They are prone to Foreign Body Ingestion while searching for grit, and are also susceptible to heat stress and to Aspergillosis.

(B7, B29, B30, B40, B94, B129, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Spectacled eiders have been kept in only small numbers and bred extremely rarely in captivity. Open and close ground cover should be available for nesting, with egg laying mainly May to June.

(J23.13.w8, B8, B29)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: L11.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 20-23 inches, 51-58cm (B3, B1)
Adult weight General Average about 1630g (B1, B3); maximum 1850 (B3).
Male 1445-1850g (B2); mean 3.6 lbs. (B8).
Female 1400-1850 pre-lay, 1200-1300g after breeding (B2); mean 3.2 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Orange with pale nail, base is feather-covered to nostrils (B2, B3, B6, B8, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) Female: Dark blue-grey, base is feather-covered to nostrils (B2, B3, B6, B8, B25, B26).
Eyes (Iris) Male White, surrounded by pale blue ring (B2, B3, B6, B8).
Variations(If present) Female: brown (B2, B3, B6, B8, B25).
Juvenile Bill Blue-grey (B8, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Brown (B6, B25).

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Legs

Adult Male Dull yellow to olive-brown, dusky webs (B2, B3, B6, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) Female: yellowish (B2, B3, B6,B25, B26).
Juvenile Dull yellow (B2, B3, B6, B25, B26).

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Plumage

Adult Male Head mostly pea-green, but large round white patch around each eye, outlined in black. White around bill, throat and lower neck white, continuous with upperparts white. Breast, underparts, tail, tailcoverts and rump slate-black with white patch either side of rump. Wing coverts white, flight feathers (primaries and secondaries) black, tertials white (B2, B3, B6, B8, B25, B26).
Variations (If present) Female:- crown and nape plain dark brown, throat, sides of face and foreneck pale brown, large grey ‘spectacle’ patch around eye, body cinnamon-brown with darker barring, wing dark brown (B2, B3, B6, B8, B25, B26).

Eclipse:- Dark grey, with pale grey head and dark grey 'spectacles', and white wing coverts (B2, B3, B6, B25).

Juvenile Similar to female, narrower barring. Spectacles present although less distinct. Male plumage develops gradually (B2, B3, B6, B25, B26).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Sepia brown with whitish abdomen. Round patch around eye, outlined with buff (B1, B6, B8).
Bill: Dark grey (B6, B8)
Feet: Dark grey (B6).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins May to June (B1, B26).
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Concealed among tussocks of grass on islets or knolls, near fresh or brackish pools; lining of grasses, other vegetation and down (B1, B6, B8, B25).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 4-5 (B1).
Range 3-9 (B8).
Egg Description Olive-buff to greenish (B3, 8); size: 64x45mm, weight: 73g. (B3)

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Incubation

24-25 days (B8), about 24 days (B1).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

50-53 days (B1, B3, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males Probably two years old (B1).
Females Probably two years old (B1).

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Diving important, also pluck and dabble at surface (B1, B8, B25).
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary nests or in loose colonies, particularly on islets (B1, B8, B25).
Incubation By female only, male leaves during incubation (B3, B6, B8, B25, B26)
Newly-hatched Carefully tended by female, on ponds; brood merging rare (B3, B6, B8, B25, B26).
Juveniles

Led to sea by female once fledged (B25).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Only one brood per small pond, but may share larger water area. Form massive flocks in wintering area (B8).
Inter-specific Often seen with other waterfowl, such as Somateria spectabilis - King eider (B26); also nest near other waterfowl, including geese and swans (B25).

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Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal pairs formed at sea in late winter, male deserts female during incubation (B3, B8, B25, B26).

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Predation in Wild

Gulls, jaegers and arctic fox (B8).

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Activity Patterns

Lives at sea except for breeding; found alone, in pairs or small groups much of the year. Loaf on sea ice (B8, B26).
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Mainly molluscs, also crustaceans; in breeding season also insects (especially caddis fly and crane fly larvae), arachnids, seeds and leaves of grasses and sedges, berries, fruits (B1, B2, B6, B26).

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Newly-hatched

Caddis fly and crane fly larvae, mare's-tail, pondweeds, crowberries (Empetrum) (B3).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Breeding: Arctic coasts: north-eastern Siberia, New Siberian Islands, northern Alaska (B1, B19)

Winter: northern Bering Sea (B8).

Occasional and Accidental

Rarely in winter south to southern Alaska, California, southern British Columbia, western Siberia (Kola), northern Norway (B1, B19).

Introduced

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Habitat

Breeding: lowland arctic tundra, coastal and further inland, with small lakes, pools, bogs. Open sea in winter, shallow muddy coastal waters on migration (B1, B2, B3, B8, B19, B25, B26).

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Crash of Alaskan population from 1000,000 pairs in 1988 to less than 2,000 pairs in 1992 (B8).

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Siberian population still numerous, but decline in Alaskan population disturbing (B8).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing Vulnerable.
Threats Oil spills major risks due to concentrated population (B1). Factors responsible for Alaskan decline unknown (B8).

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Captive Populations

Few in collections (B8).

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Trade

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