The King Eider breeds on Arctic coasts and in the fresh waters off the coasts of Western and Eastern Canada, Greenland, North-Eastern Europe and Eastern Siberia, and Svalbard and Alaska. King Eider doesn’t breed in Finland, and it is only rarely encountered here while migrating. The easiest places to travel from Finland to see the species are the Varangerfjord in Northern Norway and the harbour in Vadsø, which are important wintering areas for the King Eider. The changes in the population of the species are poorly known.
The male is very colourful with a multi-coloured head with a knob, while the female is modestly brown in colour. Norwegians call the species a proud eider or eider king. The English name of the species also refers to the same thing. Indeed, the King Eider is a much more impressive sight than the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) that breeds in the Baltic Sea. The King Eider eats mainly mussels and molluscs, which it catches from the sea floor by diving deep.
Text: Jukka Jokimäki & Marja-Liisa Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki
Read more about King Eider:
Flying Arctic -frontpage.